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National job confidence increases

More unemployed people are applying for work experience to improve job prospects but need careers advice more than ever before.

The second quarterly National Careers Service Job Confidence Index[1] shows that the overall national job confidence score has increased by 1.7 points in the last three months, rising from 51.8 to 53.5 out of 100. 

The Index, based on research looking at various issues affecting someone’s confidence in finding work, analyses the state of the nation’s work and employment prospects and shows that improvements in national job confidence have been driven predominately by unemployed people having a more positive outlook (an increase of the job confidence score from 41.5 to 45.5).

Research for the index, which measures overall job confidence and job confidence among the unemployed, shows that 76% of the country became more job confident, or maintained the same confidence levels in their job and ability to find work over the last three months, an increase of 2% compared to the last Job Confidence Index. 

However, the Index also reveals that the improvement in overall job confidence is not country-wide, with enhanced confidence mostly felt in London, followed by the South West and the East Midlands.  In contrast, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber have seen little change.

The Index demonstrates that people are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to improving their job prospects - a quarter of unemployed people (24%) have applied for work experience compared to only one eighth (12%) in the previous Index.  In addition, a third (33%) have attended training to progress in their careers, compared to only one quarter (28%) in the last Index. 

However, the Index also reveals that fewer out of work job seekers have updated their CVs in the past three months, 79% compared to four-fifths (83%) in the last Index. While people may be more confident about finding work, previous research from the National Careers Service shows that updating and tailoring a CV can make all the difference when applying for jobs.

Almost 80% of advisers from the National Careers Service said that the most common mistake people made was sending generic CVs to employers and two-thirds (66%) also said that this mistake was the one most likely to stop a candidate being put forward for an interview.

To combat this problem and provide more people with quick access to important careers advice, the National Careers Service has recently launched the CareersAdvice app. The app features top tips on job search, CV writing and job interviews, as well as information on different job profiles, key career events and inspiring stories of people who have achieved their career goals. It allows users to contact the National Careers Service directly and can be downloaded for free from Google Play for Android users and from the Apple Store for Apple customers.

Overall, the Index shows that economic recovery continues to boost the nation’s job confidence, with three-fifths (61%) of employed people still feeling that it would take them less than six months to find a new job if they were made redundant.  Two fifths (41%) of the people questioned now expect that they would need less than three months to find a new job, compared to only 38% in the previous three months. 

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said,

"It’s great to see that the nation’s job confidence has increased in the last three months, matching economic growth. It is also good to know that more and more people are seeking out work experience as we know that this is a good way to access and understand careers. There are already a record number of jobs in the UK and while many challenges remain, these figures show the plan is working."

Joe Billington, director of the National Careers Service, said, “The National Careers Service is committed to providing inspiring careers advice to young people and adults at all stages of their working life, helping to motivate them to make the right decisions for their careers and indeed lives. “It’s great news that people are feeling more job confident. We encourage employers to work with schools and colleges to ensure people receive high-quality careers advice which is relevant – with employers taking centre stage in helping people to get on in life. 

“But while an increase in confidence is a really positive sign, the right advice is important in helping to secure job interviews and get into work. Our research shows that people need more support to be able to seize career opportunities, particularly those looking for work. And that’s why it is important that job seekers continue to update their CVs, tailoring them to each vacancy, and also access the free careers advice the National Careers Service offers.”

The National Careers Service is available to everyone aged 13 and over in England. It provides free impartial advice on all jobs and careers related matters. 


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