LinkedIn UK manager: There’s less stigma of unemployment since the pandemic
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LinkedIn UK manager: There’s less stigma of unemployment since the pandemic

Josh Graff speaks exclusively to Candice Krieger about the impact of the Covid on the workforce and how the site is helping jobseekers

Through their honesty, LinkedIn members have reduced the stigma of being unemployed 
Through their honesty, LinkedIn members have reduced the stigma of being unemployed 

The world of work is changing. And monitoring the changes closer than most is Josh Graff, LinkedIn’s UK country manager. 

Graff, who joined LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking platform, in 2011 also leads the company’s marketing solutions business in Europe, The Middle East, Africa & Latin America. He says this is the “toughest labour market we’ve seen for a generation. 

“The past year has been a hugely challenging and uncertain time for everyone, including those in work, seeking work and in education.” But Graff, who later this month will be sharing his insights on the future of work at an ORT UK virtual business event, believes there is reason to be optimistic. 

Talking exclusively to Jewish News, Graff says: “LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Report for the UK shows that hiring is gradually rebounding and has greatly improved since Covid-19 started to impact the nation in March.” He identifies significant job opportunities going forward, particularly in digital.

LinkedIn has become the ‘go to’ for professionals across the world. The platform, which was bought by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in 2016, enables workers to connect, share stories, learn and find new opportunities.

Josh Graff

“We want to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities and contacts regardless of where they’re from and who they know,” says Graff, who credits much of his leadership values to his time spent in the Habonim Dror youth movement in the 90s.

“Habonim instilled in me the values of equality, empowerment and integrity, all of which have heavily influenced my leadership philosophy and style.” 

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn’s online community has grown rapidly to nearly 740 million members globally over the past year – 30 times more than during the last financial crash. Thirty million of the members are from the UK.  

Habonim instilled in me the values of equality, empowerment and integrity, all of which have heavily influenced my leadership philosophy and style.

“It has evolved from a place to create your professional profile online and search for others,” says Graff. “This year alone, we’ve seen people turn to their professional community more than ever before – to provide a helping hand to others, find a new opportunity, hone skills and stay in the know.

“We are seeing record engagement on the platform, with a 55 percent increase in conversations among connections and the amount of content shared on the platform is also up nearly 50 percent year-on-year.” 

According to the Workforce Report, national hiring was 5.8 percent higher last October than September. The industries with the most notable hiring shifts month-to-month in October were legal (42.2 percent higher); media and communications (41.3 percent higher); and finance (23.6 percent higher). 

People working in sectors that require face-to-face contact have, however, been particularly hard hit. “At the end of last year, we saw that hiring in recreation and travel was down by 43 percent and entertainment was down 26 percent, versus 2019. The retail sector is also facing a difficult time, with a number of household brands closing and that was reflected in hiring at the end of last year, with hiring for roles down 20 percent year on year.”

Conversely, as the nation has been forced to adapt to new ways of living and working, there is strong job growth in areas such as e-commerce, healthcare, customer service and technology, in addition to growth in creative freelancing and professional coaching, as people believe in their skills and go it alone. And of course, the rapid acceleration of digitisation. “Digital skills are in high demand. Overall, we expect that the technology sector will add 13 million jobs in the UK in the next five years.” 

To help people looking for new opportunities, LinkedIn has identified 10 in-demand roles in today’s economy that have had steady growth over the past four years, pay a liveable wage, and require skills that can be learned online. These roles are:  software developer, sales development representative, project manager, IT administrator, customer service specialist, digital marketer, IT support/help desk, graphic designer, financial analyst and data analyst. 

Digital skills are in high demand. Overall, we expect that the technology sector will add 13 million jobs in the UK in the next five years.

It recently partnered with Microsoft to offer free online video courses to help people learn the skills for the most sought-after careers. More than 13 million people around the world have learned digital skills through this initiative. 

Next month, Graff will take over as regional managing director for LinkedIn and will continue to lead marketing solutions for the region. Not bad for someone who dropped out of university after the first year. “I never enjoyed formal study and was always eager to start work from a young age. I went to university and quickly realised it wasn’t a path for me.” 

Graff secured work experience in an events company and a full-time role in TV production. After two years, he saw an opportunity to start up the world’s first in-game advertising agency. He founded JAM International from his brother’s bedroom, which was acquired by the American advertising company Massive Inc in 2005. A year later, Massive Inc was bought by Microsoft. After Microsoft, Graff joined Electronics  Arts, EA, before starting his LinkedIn journey. 

JOSH GRAFF

● Education: Woodhouse College

● 2002-2005: Founder, JAM

● 2005-2007: Brash Entertainment, business development

● 2008-11: Electronic Arts, business development & EMEA/APAC media sales

● 2011: LinkedIn

According to reports, UK unemployment has reached its highest level for more than four years as recent lockdown measures place more pressure on businesses and workers. Graff says he has been empowered and encouraged by how the LinkedIn community has pulled together. 

“We’ve seen people offering recommendations, as well as sharing powerful and difficult stories and pointing individuals to helpful resources to get them back into work and navigate this upheaval.” 

What’s more, he says the openness of the individuals going through an incredibly tough time career-wise has really helped to reduce the stigma of unemployment. “We conducted a survey late last year, which found that nearly seven in 10 people who have been made redundant, either before or during Covid-19, believe there is less stigma attached to being unemployed since the pandemic. Our research also found that businesses look favourably on unemployed jobseekers, as they tend to be resourceful, proactive problem- solvers and resilient.”

We conducted a survey late last year, which found that nearly seven in 10 people who have been made redundant, either before or during Covid-19, believe there is less stigma attached to being unemployed since the pandemic

What advice would he offer those looking for a new role? “Firstly, a bit of housekeeping to make sure your profile is up to date and completed. Members with profile photos receive up to 21 times more profile views, and having your current position listed could make you receive up to 10 times more messages that create opportunity. You can even upload an audio clip to your profile, using the new name pronunciation tool, to ensure connections know how to pronounce your name correctly. Don’t forget to add information on your industry and education – as well as a short intro about yourself. 

“Status updates are an easy way to update your network on the projects you’ve been working on and the industry topics you’re interested in. Regularly sharing your opinions and things that interest you, like an engaging video or article, is a great way to stay connected with your professional community.

“On LinkedIn, applicants are nearly three times more likely to get a job at a company where they have a connection, so make sure you are seeking out anyone you might know at companies you’re interested in, or ask a mutual connection to introduce you. 

“If you list more than five skills on your profile, you’re 27 times more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters. Don’t be afraid to show these off, so employers will get a great idea of how you work, and which roles might be right for you. Use the LinkedIn job search bar to filter through recent job listings by experience, interests, skills and location. You can also set up job alerts based on your preferences.”

Last June, LinkedIn introduced an ‘Open to Work’ feature offering members the ability to signal they are looking for a new opportunity by adding a photo frame to their profile photo. 

If you list more than five skills on your profile, you’re 27 times more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters. Don’t be afraid to show these off

“Since launching, more than three million members have added it. On average, members with an Open to Work photo frame receive 40 percent more InMails from recruiters and are 20 percent more likely to receive messages from the LinkedIn community.” 

Graff enjoys art, theatre, travel and scuba-diving, all of which he is missing. “But thankfully I am a Scrabble fanatic, so I have had a fair amount of practice over the past year.” 

  •  Josh Graff will be among experts discussing the impact of the pandemic on the world of work at an ORT UK virtual business event, in association with Jewish News.
  • Other panellists are Euan Blair, founder of Multiverse; Olly Olsen, Co-Founder of The Office Group and Sophie Eden, co-founder of Gordon & Eden, moderated by BBC broadcast journalist Samantha Simmonds.
  • Back To The Future: Innovating the way we work takes place on 23 February at 9am. https://ortuk.org/get-involved/events

 

LinkedIn’s 10 most in-demand roles 

  1. Software developer 
  2. Sales development representative 
  3. Project manager
  4. IT administrator
  5. Customer service specialist 
  6. Digital marketer 
  7. IT support/help desk 
  8. Graphic designer
  9. Financial analyst 
  10. Data analyst

A year on since the first signs of Covid-19, there are few predictions even the most knowledgeable can make with any certainty, writes Grant Benjamin. 

However, some people will do well by deciding to invest now. With interest rates at a record low of 0.1 percent, just using a cash savings account will certainly not grow your money. Indeed, when you allow for inflation, you’re guaranteed to be worse off.

It’s not possible to plan for a perfect entry into the market, especially when investing from medium to long-term. However, the most common and costly mistake is waiting too long and ‘suffering’ time out of the market. 

Right now, there is growing optimism that the combination of a new American President, the coronavirus vaccine rollout and the consequential increases in pent-up demand, is going to trigger a strong economic recovery. Recent analysis also suggests the British economy, in the past 12 months, has, in fact, performed better than its European counterparts – although this is not much of a consolation.

If you are able and willing to invest for the medium to long-term, the current circumstances probably present a once-in-a-generation opportunity. There won’t be a specific right moment and there may well be bumps along the way. The fallout from Brexit, particularly for those businesses engaged in exporting to Europe, is likely to remain complicated for some time to come.  Nevertheless, the outlook for medium to long-term investors remains optimistic and strong.

Financial analysts are confident that global economies will continue to recover strongly. Although timing can never be certain, the biggest threat to the long-term performance of any investment remains missing out on the market’s best days. By taking a calm and guided approach to growing your wealth – with a portfolio that offers strong downside protection without sacrificing opportunities for growth – it is possible, over time, to outperform the market.  Indeed, our portfolios produced positive growth in 2020, notwithstanding that the FTSE-100, for example, was still more than 14 percent down for the year. I emphasise, of course, that past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.

FTSE 100 (Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash)

After the shocks of the past year, if you haven’t done so yet, now is certainly the time to review all of your financial planning needs. Professional advice can often identify gaps in your overall financial structure. Indeed, if we learnt one thing in 2020, it’s just how vulnerable we are. Jobs and businesses we once considered ‘solid’ have crumbled. Safeguarding and nurturing what we have has become even more vital. You should also ensure that your protection policies, such as life insurance and critical illness cover, are comprehensive and suitable.

On another front, the pandemic has clearly cost the public finances dearly and will continue to do so for some time. Arguably, the government will have to start rebalancing the budget and that may well involve changes to taxation. Again, no one can forecast any of this with certainty, but we will no doubt receive some clarity in the Chancellor’s Budget on 3 March. This strengthens the proposition that now is the time to review, plan and protect.

Fortunately, lockdown has seen the expansion of a few good things such as Zoom – it is a convenient way in the circumstances for us to ‘meet’ and discuss wealth management and financial planning. So don’t hesitate to book a free consultation by calling 020 3114 2112 or visit sycamorewealth.co.uk

  

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