4 in 5 say job search negatively affected mental wellbeing

  • Impact of restrictions and lockdowns has fuelled decreased motivation, confidence and morale among UK jobseekers.

  • Average UK jobseeker rejected from 16 different roles during pandemic.

  • The nationwide survey was commissioned to launch BT Stand Out Skills, providing jobseekers of all ages with free tools and resources to help them build confidence and stand out in their job search; https://www.bt.com/standoutskills

With the UK in the midst of another national lockdown, a new study has revealed that an overwhelming majority of jobseekers have been negatively affected by their search for work over the past year, with four in five (81%) attributing a downturn in their mental wellbeing to their job search. The research, commissioned by BT to launch Stand Out Skills, also showed that the average jobseeker has unsuccessfully applied for 16 different roles over the past 12 months.

When asked how rejections and the job search had affected them specifically, 45% of jobseekers responded that they had experienced decreased motivation, whilst 38% highlighted lower self-esteem and morale and a further 44% a reduction in self-confidence.

BT’s research also highlighted how this lack of confidence persists throughout the various stages of the job search. Just 22% are confident that their CV and covering letter will stand out when compared to fellow candidates, while even fewer (21%) believe in their ability to impress and leave a lasting impression in an interview.

This has led to jobseekers hiding details of their job search from their closest friends and family, with 57% keeping job applications secret in case they are rejected and a further 49% being concerned about what family or friends will think of the rejection.

Added to the difficulties jobseekers already face, the research also went on to show that almost half (48%) admitted to struggling to find resources which could help them in their job search, including how to improve their CV and job interview technique.

As part of BT Skills for Tomorrow, which aims to help 10 million people in the UK make the most of life in the digital world, BT has launched Stand Out Skills. This initiative provides jobseekers of all ages with free and unmissable tips, resources and advice to support them in building their confidence and help them stand out in the job search. BT has teamed up with experts and celebrities including TV presenter Anita Rani, Comedian Iain Stirling and Drag Queen Divina De Campo to release free resources and advice across different stages of the job search – from where to start and showing your best self to standing out when applying and in interviews.

Hannah Cornick, Head of Digital Impact and Sustainability (Consumer), BT, said: “‘The global pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the job market, and it’s only natural that jobseekers’ confidence will have been affected. BT remains more committed than ever to its Skills for Tomorrow programme, and to ensuring that people have the skills they need to flourish in an increasingly digital world. This is why we have launched Stand Out Skills, to help those looking for work build their confidence by providing them with the necessary tools and resources they need to get ahead of the competition and stand out in their job search.”

BT Skills for Tomorrow is designed to help everyone – from school children and teachers, parents and families, businesses and jobseekers, to those lacking basic digital skills. Working in partnership with a range of the UK’s leading digital skills, enterprise and community organisations, BT has created and collated some of the best advice, information and support, in one easy to navigate place.

More on BT Skills for Tomorrow and Stand Out Skills can be found here: https://www.bt.com/standoutskills


Notes to Editors

The research was commissioned by BT and carried out online by OnePoll. All surveys were conducted between 18th December 2020 and 5th January 2021. The sample comprised 2000 UK jobseekers aged 18+ (employed and unemployed). OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS

Ambassador Quotes

Comedian and Love Island narrator, Iain Stirling: “As a stand-up comedian I know it’s important to grab people’s attention right from the start, and the same goes for your job application. Having an employer sit up and take note of your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile is the first step towards getting ahead of your competition. Words have the power to leave a lasting impact on an audience, so it’s important that you choose the right ones. That’s why I’m delighted to be involved in the BT Stand Out Skills campaign, to help people nail those job applications and present themselves in the best way on LinkedIn so that they can land their dream job.”

Presenter Anita Rani: “My career as a television presenter has taught me how important it is to convey your enthusiasm so that people want to listen to what you have to say. While an interview can be nerve-wracking, it’s about having the confidence and belief in yourself to embrace the process and stand out against the competition. I’m thrilled to be a part of the BT Stand Out Skills campaign, so I can share some of my best tips and tricks to help job seekers come across well in a job interview and knock the socks of their prospective employer, even if it is over a video call!”

Divina De Campo, RuPaul's Drag Race UK runner-up: “A job search can be just like a drag show: to wow those judges and put yourself ahead of the competition, you need to showcase your best self so that they see how fabulous you really are. Having been around the block a few times I can tell you that, unless you’re applying to be a spy, ‘blending in’ is a big no-no! That’s why I’m over the moon to be a part of BT’s Stand Out Skills campaign, which will give you everything you need to stand out from the crowd, like me, and shine in your job search from beginning to end.”

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about