Major new research from Indeed has found that nearly half of jobless people hide their unemployment woes from their family and friends instead of seeking support, with 18-34 year olds the most likely to exaggerate their work success.
While the pandemic caused unemployment to rise to its highest level in nearly five years, it did little to dispel the social stigma often associated with being without a job. The research found that 45% of respondents admitted to having hidden their unemployment status from their family and friends and over three quarters (78%) contemplated keeping it entirely to themselves.
The research also shines a light on the emotional toll of finding work: 42% experienced feelings of anxiety, self-doubt (41%), depression (24%) and despair (21%) while job seeking, with half saying they were too embarrassed to broach the topic with loved ones (45%).
With joblessness impacting self-esteem, 63% feel nervous about getting back into the workplace after being unemployed, with lack of confidence (61%), the fear of meeting new people (57%) and performance anxiety (43%) being the main causes of anxiety.
Digging a little deeper, the research showed women (52%) are more likely to suffer a crisis of confidence following unemployment than men (38%). Regionally, Londoners transpired to be the least likely to share their feeling with friends (24%) whilst those in Scotland were the most inclined to lean on their family in their time of need.
On the flip side — and despite widespread reluctance to discuss career setbacks — almost 3 in 4 (71%) said the first thing they would do when they successfully landed a new role was share the news with their nearest and dearest.
Finding a job is more stressful than moving house or sitting exams
With such a hill to climb, one in five (18%) felt the process of getting a job was one of the biggest challenges they have ever faced, on par with the break-up of a relationship and pipping moving house (16%), and sitting exams (9%) as the most taxing events in their lifetime.
Close to half (46%) feel there isn’t sufficient emotional and mental health support for people job hunting, over a third (35%) desired more online materials to help them cope with the range of emotions they felt.
Counting the positives, a quarter (24%) said the job hiatus had given them the opportunity to embark on a career change. Given some time to themselves, 38% took the opportunity to up their skill set. When asked how they felt about securing a new job, relief (53%) and hope for the future (35%) came out top.
Introducing Indeed’s ‘Little Book of Big Triumphs’
To encourage conversations around looking for work and inspire those on the hunt for their next role, Indeed has launched a collection of poetry penned by newly hired candidates, mentored by renowned artist and Young People’s Laureate for London, Cecilia Knapp.
The ‘Little Book of Big Triumphs’ tells the poetic tales of former jobseekers’ experiences of triumphing over adversity to find work. The Indeed users put pen to paper for the first time to articulate their emotive journeys in the hope of providing encouragement and support to those still looking for work.
Reflecting on the results from Indeed’s latest research, Deepa Somasundari, Senior Director of Strategic Projects at Indeed, commented: “Finding work can be an emotional rollercoaster fraught with ups and downs and we know that many people are uncomfortable discussing their employment and ultimately hide their true feelings. Covid-19 pulled the rug out from under people’s career plans and our research shows the emotional barriers they face to get back on their feet and get a job.
“With our “Little Book of Big Triumphs”, we hope the poetic recounting of people’s ups and downs finding work, and how they ultimately overcame adversity to triumph in their job search, can inspire and help people facing similar challenges feel less alone.”
Indeed’s Little Book of Big Triumphs can be downloaded at www.indeedtriumphs.com.