Keeping Your Career Moving After Redundancy

Redundancy is one of the biggest challenges you can face in your career and it’s becoming increasingly common in an uncertain economy.

According to research by Statista, in the three months leading up to December 2023 around 116,000 people were made redundant compared to 94,000 in the previous three months.

The important thing to remember is that while losing your job can impact both your finances and your confidence, it’s always something you can bounce back from eventually.

As one of the leading recruitment agencies in Birmingham, we’re always hearing from people experiencing the redundancy process who need help getting back on track.

Below we explore how to deal with redundancy, what contributes to the risk of redundancy and other key points to consider in terms of redundancy help.

What is redundancy?

Redundancy is when you lose your role because an employer is looking to reduce their staff. It is not the same as being sacked. You may be made redundant because: 

• Your role is no longer required within the business

• Your employer is looking to save money where possible

• Your employer is experiencing a structural change or going out of business

The redundancy process does not look at people, it looks at roles. If an employer decides a role is not necessary, it is considered ‘at risk of redundancy’.

During this time, an employer may look at alternatives for employees such as reducing working hours or requesting staff to consider voluntary redundancy (which we explain further below).

Once the decision has been made and no alternatives have gone ahead, the official redundancy process begins. 

During this time, there is a strict set of rules the employer has to follow. They must:

• Speak with everyone who is at risk of losing their job 

• Conduct a group consultation – particularly if they’re planning multiple redundancies

• Make an official decision on which redundancies they’re going ahead with

• Provide official, written notice of when the role will be made redundant

If you’re made redundant, you can expect statutory redundancy pay if you’ve been working for your employer for more than 2 years. You may receive further payment in the form of a lump sum depending on the employer.

How does an employer decide which role is redundant?

During the initial stages of redundancy, the employer has to decide which roles are being made redundant and why. 

This process should always be fair and objective. Firstly, they’ll consider which roles are vital for day-to-day operation and which of those can be consolidated. They may also consider the various skill sets across the business and other factors such as disciplinary records. 

Throughout the entire process, the employer has to speak with everyone that is at risk in a period known as ‘consultation’.

In some cases, your employer may offer you another role, which is called ‘suitable alternative employment’. Typically, if you accept the new job before the end of the notice period, you won’t get any redundancy pay. Unfortunately, not taking the role could affect your rights to redundancy pay, meaning it’s important to consult with an expert where possible.

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How to handle redundancy

Redundancy can occur because of many different factors – from changes in team structure to downsizing or closure. The important thing to remember is that the circumstances will usually be out of your control. This is why it’s vital to not take it personally and focus on moving forward. If you’re facing or have been made redundant, here’s what you need to do next:

1. Take the time to process and gather information

When you receive the bad news, you should first and foremost take the time to process what has happened. If you start panicking, you’re more likely to miss important information or make a rash decision. 

While it’s a tough experience and can be overwhelming, there’s some vital points you have to consider: 

• What is the notice period?

• How many meetings can you expect during the consultation period?

• What is the situation in terms of redundancy payment? Will you be paid a normal wage during the redundancy process?

• Are there any benefits you can take advantage of following redundancy such as universal credit?

• Do you have the option to move to another role within the business?

• Will you be given the opportunity to find a new potential employer during the redundancy process? (including time off)

While your employer can answer all of the questions, you can do your own research to make sure you understand all of your rights during the notice period.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly treated or singled out, you should speak to your employer. If this doesn’t result in any progress, you can take legal action. Remember, proving unfair dismissal is difficult and may simply aggravate an already stressful situation.

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2. Update your CV and social profiles

Once you’ve come to terms with the redundancy and feel you have answers to your questions, it’s worth updating your CV straight away. 

Ensure that all of the information is correct and up-to-date as it’s increasingly likely more people will be viewing it in the short-term. 

You can view our guide if you need advice on updating your CV or what makes a great CV in general.

Likewise, if you can, announce that you’re now looking for work on LinkedIn or the social platform of your choice. You never know who may be hiring at the time.

In terms of mentioning the redundancy, especially on your CV, you don’t need to include a reason for leaving – it’s likely something you’ll discuss during your interview.

3. Request time off to look for work

If you’ve been an employee for more than 2 years, it’s mandatory for your employer to give you a reasonable amount of time off to find a new role.

During this time, you can apply for roles, go to interviews or even undertake training that could lead to a new job. 

You can take the time off at any point during the notice period and your employer can’t ask you to make the time up after your set working hours.

If your employer doesn’t give you this time off, there are several options open to you. You may want to raise a formal grievance, enter a formal negotiation known as ‘early conciliation’ or take your employer to an employment tribunal. You can find out more about these options at places such as Citizens Advice.

4. Create a plan

When you’re looking for a new role, it’s a great idea to treat the job search as a job.

Set yourself certain hours throughout the day that you’ll use for filling out applications. Set time for updating your own personal documents such as your CV or cover letter.

You may want to use this experience as an opportunity to change careers. Often we find that professionals facing redundancy often twist the situation from a negative into a positive, using the momentum of redundancy to find a brand new career or rise higher in their chosen career path.

5. Remember that it’s not personal

Overall, it’s important to remember that redundancy isn’t personal – it’s often a pure business decision. You shouldn’t allow redundancy to knock your confidence or abilities as it’s often an exercise by employers to cut costs. 

While we understand it can be overwhelming, redundancy may give you the opportunity to improve your work life balance, change careers or even upskill into a better position. Although you may be concerned about finances, if you take the time to consider your financial situation and reach out to a professional, you’ll find a way through.