No, not the title of the latest Indiana Jones or Jurassic franchise films, but a snapshot of where the country is at right now. Whilst the optimists amongst us had been hoping for a further lockdown easing back in June, we were faced with another month of social distancing, limits on gatherings and restrictions to ‘normal’ life. For many who excitedly booked tickets, made plans to attend events and who are desperate to see those outside of their immediate bubble this meant yet more cancelled plans, postponed arrangements again and a raft of disappointment.

While we as the consumer may have felt utterly saddened, what of the industries this affected? For some, this meant yet another month of closure; another month of lost revenue; staring into the abyss, trying to manage and wondering when will things change? Well, we know now, and we’re almost there, with life ‘unlocked’ on what’s being known as ‘Freedom Day’ on 19th July.

Nightclubs, theatres and the rest of the leisure and entertainment industry faced severe restrictions on capacity or remained closed altogether. Whilst some large venues operated trials with larger crowds – think Wembley hosting Euro 2021 games – the impact on these industries, and the staff who are employed in them, has been astronomical! There are employees who have been on furlough now for over a year and while this may sound dreamy to those who have feel they have had to work even harder to keep things ticking over, the reality is it is not actually as great as it sounds. The insecurity of being furloughed for so long, with significant time periods of not utilising and maintaining skills has caused real problems for many of those in this situation, with many wondering:

When will I get back to work?

Will my job be the same as it was before?

Will I be able to cope when I go back?

Can I still do my job effectively?

Do I even want to go back to that job?!

Take chefs for example. When the first lockdown came into place and restaurants closed, suddenly no one needed a chef! There were hundreds of highly-skilled, trained chefs with nothing to do, and no clear point identified as to when they’d be required again. Some waited it out, and when all restaurants were given the go-ahead to open up again back in May, there was a surge in demand for skilled chefs again.

Recruiters scrambled to find the best talent and place them, quickly! Why was there such demand if there were so many out-of-work chefs? Well, not all furloughed chefs decided to wait it out. Some decided to look at their transferrable skills and apply these to a new industry, completing a full career change during lockdown. It would make sense (anyone who’s watched Kitchen Nightmares would surely agree) that swapping a stressful role with unsociable hours for a 9-5, even paying a slightly lower wage, would be more attractive to lots of retrained chefs.

The One Show just last night featured a segment on government funded training schemes to train up a new cache of chefs and hospitality industry workers to try and fill the gap that has been created. It’s a challenging time for the industry, but with a return to ‘normal’, there are roles aplenty for those looking!

Late-night venue staff, such as nightclub managers, must also be finding it challenging. Committed to an industry they are passionate about; many will have spent their furlough time anxiously watching the news and posting messages of hope on social media. This is not an industry in which people work for the lucrative salaries, but because they love it! The pull of alternative career paths will be very strong, as managers and supervisors in this sector have excellent transferrable skills. We reached out to Simon Ellis of Apetito to tell us his lockdown story…

“Monday the 16th of March 2020, as we watched the pandemic escalate across the globe, Boris says ‘we suggest you stay away from the pub this week’. Sensing the impending doom and watching other countries across the continent locking down, I jumped on t’internet and started looking for agency driving jobs; it was only going to be a couple of weeks after all! Profiles completed and CVs uploaded, I was immediately offered a job delivering ‘meals on wheels’ which sounded like a nice thing to do.

After a couple of days finding my feet, I really embraced the job and instantly asked if there were any permanent jobs going, as the hours would suit around my DJing career. After 13 weeks waiting to come over from the agency, I finally started a part-time permanent role with Apetito as a driver in July, still waiting for the clubs to reopen and being propped up with Rishi’s generous grants. I had built quite a good rapport with the management team over this time and when a full-time supervisory role became available after only a matter of weeks, I jumped at the chance of advancement!

Fast forward only another 2 and a half months, and the Depot Operations Manager role became available. Having spent 30 years running my own businesses, 5 years managing nightclubs and 3 years running the family business, management was nothing new to me! A meteoric rise some might say, but this the benefit of a good work ethic and transferrable skills!”

With the skills shortage we are currently facing, we would urge all employers looking to grow their teams to look very closely at transferable skills, as there are most certainly valuable gems who might just need the dust brushing off out there in the market. Working with a recruitment partner will enable a third party to dig deep into a CV and uncover those ‘diamonds in the rough’ that you might overlook at a first glance.

Candidates displaying the right attitude can make huge sector jumps with far more ease and enthusiasm than ever before. Hiring managers, look closely at applicants from the ‘lost industries’; transferrable skills have never been more important!