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With the rise in the COVID-19 cases, it has been noted that there has been a major impediment in the labour market of the UK. The main objective of this particular study has been to understand the impact of unemployment on the retail industry of the UK caused by COVID-19. It can be revealed that to attain this objective, and the researcher has made use of the qualitative research study. Owing to the nature of the survey, interpretivism research philosophy has been applied. It can be revealed that a semi-structured interview has been performed with 35 participants to contemplate their perception of unemployment status led by the corona virus. It has been found from the study that before COVID -19, the employees used to work for 39+ hours, but this number has declined during the pandemic. It has been noted that because of the lack of funds with the people of UK, the people do not move out for shopping as frequently as they used to previously. There have been colossal layoffs and pay cuts in the UK because of the pandemic. There has been a loss of confidence among the workers as well. The government needs to take adequate actions so that the impact of the virus can be minimized and people would get back to their jobs.
The COVID 19 crisis hit the UK in the first quarter of 2020. Notably, since January, when the first case of the COVID 19 disease was diagnosed, the number of cases of people infected from the COVID 19 and related death have been continuously rising. Like several other countries, the UK has also limited strict confinement intervention to prevent the spread of COVID 19, such as social distancing and travel restrictions. These confinement measures to deal with the health crisis have not influenced people’s daily lives and have severe economic implications across several industries and sectors in the UK (Fana et al., 2020).
Given the magnitude of the shock caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been a significant shift in the labor markets in the UK and worldwide. Accordingly, it has been noted that before the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, the unemployment rates in the UK were estimated to be close to post-war lows. Even during the Great Depression, the increase in the unemployment rate was less dramatic than today due to the COVID crisis (Bell & Blanchflower, 2020). Accordingly, unemployment in the UK rose to 4.9% in the quarter. Notably, more than 80000 jobs have been lost since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in the UK, and the numbers of unemployed youths are continuously increasing (Wearden, 2020).
Furthermore, it has been anticipated that the unemployment rate in the UK could hit 8.5% in the first quarter of 2021, a level which the UK has not witnessed since the early 1990s (IANS, 2020). Moreover, almost all industries and sectors are identified to face the similar challenge of the rising unemployment rate. The retail industry in the UK is further ascertained to be one of the worst-hit industries due to COVID 19. Thus, the implications of this health crisis concerning unemployment in the UK’s retail industry have been more severe. However, it has been noted that their lack of accurate estimates regarding the impact of the COVID 19 crisis on unemployment in the retail industry in the UK. Thus, further research is needed to gain in-depth insights and understanding about the unemployment in the retail sector of the UK caused by COVID-19.
As per the research conducted by the London School of Economics, it has been identified that unemployment leads to significant anxiety among the ones who are found to retain their jobs. It has further been known that the negative impact on the wellbeing that the entire community faces are four times the impact on individual alone. For the people who are still at work, there have been massive changes. Near about 30 percent of UK key workers are pretty concerned regarding their health and safety in employment. It has been noted that consumer spending has dealt a significant blow (Szalavetz, 2020). With the initial closure of the non-essential retail sector, there has been massive damage in demand in large parts of the economy. The most impacted areas comprise spending money over goods and services that have close contact, such as footwear as well as beauty salons and among others. Under such context, it is noted that the confidence of the consumers tends to be relatively low. People be afraid regarding job security, health as well as overall prospects for the economy as a whole. During the pandemic, it is noted that the consumers focused their spending on essential purchases rather than discretionary ones. They were also found to increase their savings and postpone the purchase of different goods. It can be revealed that the long-term implication over the retail sector tends to be huge (Stanciu & et al., 2020). Most British consumers contemplate the fact that there will be changes in how they will travel, communicate or work. The previously purchased goods are now being purchased online by near about 45% of the UK consumers after the outbreak.
Thus, this study will draw upon a series of secondary data and use primary data to explore the unemployment in the retail industry of the UK due to COVID 19. In this regard, the proposed study will mainly focus on assessing the COVID 19 pandemic on the unemployment in the retail industry of the UK and the measures that have been applied to tackle this issue of unemployment caused due to COVID 19.
COVID 19 crisis has dramatic implications on the UK’s health and economic conditions. Apart from fitness, the significant impact of the COVID 19 crisis has been on the employment level in the country. Accordingly, the COVID 19 crisis has amounted to a rapid climb in the unemployment rate in the UK. As per the International Labour Organization (2020), the COVID 19 crisis resulted in a massive job loss among the youth in the UK that was already a vulnerable workforce before the COVID 19 outbreak.
The retail industry, which is the largest private employer in the country, has been the worst hit by the pandemic, which has generated a considerable employment crisis in the country. Accordingly, it has been noted that millions of people, particularly young individuals, are identified to have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, the COVID 19 pandemic is still present and continues to evolve. Its impact on employment in the retail sector in the UK is further estimated to exacerbate (BBC, 2020).
The outcome of the economic impact of COVID-19 is rolling is because jobless claims are published. Millions of retail jobs have been lost due to the pandemic. It is considered that one out of ten jobs are lost due to COVID-19 in the retail segment. The overall image of Covid-19 is pretty miserable. The unemployment rate is increased considerably, surpassing even peak economic recession levels. While economists consider that people are due for an economic recession, COVID-19 has expedited both that economic recession and the harshness of it. With the increasing unemployment rate, customer spending has also reduced, which will create trouble for the retailers. Where certain states are providing unemployment advantages so that people can utilize the money for purchasing essential products and foods and pay for essentials like rent and utilities, this still harms the retail segment because the retail organizations are also intending to cut down the expenses, which not only impact on the services but also the sales. As many states are starting to reopen the usual activities, certain employees will not return to the old work or profession. This will also impact retail organizations who lost their valuable employees and will face problems in providing services. It will require a long time to recover from the loss generated by the pandemic in terms of unemployment and therefore has influenced the functions of retail organizations in the UK. The impact of COVID-19 is immediate, long-lasting, and severe, and consequently, this subject requires to be studied thoroughly to understand its effect on the retail industry in the UK.
It is reasonably expected that UK retail sector would emerge from the crisis in a distinct form. Job losses and store closures are pretty probable in the coming times. Nonetheless, it is to be revealed that a resilient sector would take emerge that would possess agile and adaptable businesses that are placed in a manner to have quick recovery of the economy. Such changes will lead to shake out in the entire sector as consumers would move towards business houses aligned towards a new set of values (BBC, 2020). Those retailers, as well as consumer brands who are unable to spin their business models, would fail miserably and would be replaced by nimbler strategies while new firms would fill the emptiness. There would be massive pressure towards addressing the burden of rent, right-sizing store estates, and minimizing the operating costs because brands would move towards a new retail paradigm.
Correspondingly, it has become essential for assessing the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on employment in the retail sector in the UK. Hence, the proposed research study attempts to evaluate the implications of COVID 19 on jobs in the retail industry in the retail industry and identifies potential policy measures that can be implemented to achieve employment and economic recovery.
This chapter presents annotated literature review along with the research aim, objectives, and research questions. This chapter evaluates the relevant literature, including articles, books, journals, online articles, and reports published by the authorized agencies on the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic, its impact on the retail industry in the UK as well as its effect on the employment in the retail sector in the UK. This chapter further reviews literature to identify the policy measures to tackle unemployment due to COVID 19 pandemic.
The outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic has emerged as the most challenging issue for the global community today. The COVID 19 infection, which was first reported to the WHO office in China on 31 December 2019, continues to pose unprecedented challenges to government, society, and business communities across the world (Huang et al., 2020). Delayed response to the COVID 19 infections by the global leaders during the early phase of the pandemic has significantly contributed to the rapid rise in the numbers of the COVID 19 patients in the UK and around the world (Topcu & Gulal, 2020). By late November, the UK reported 1,737,960 total cases of COVID 19 and complete death of 61,434 (Worldometers, 2020).
Accordingly, in the absence of reliable vaccines or treatment to prevent COVID 19 infections, this deadly disease has made the situation more dangerous. The countries worldwide, including the UK, have no option but to respond to the COVID 19 pandemic through non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI). Notably, the countries worldwide have implemented lockdown, social distancing, and travel restrictions both at a regional and local level (Demirgüç-Kunt et al., 2020). Apart from the loss of life and other social impact caused by the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, this deadly disease has severely hit the country’s economic activity. The UK has been categorized among the worst-hit economies of the world. In this regard, the UK’s economy is estimated to have contracted by 20.4%. Moreover, retail spending has also shrunk considerably, creating a significant challenge for the retailers in the UK (BBC, 2020).
COVID 19 pandemic has a severe impact on the retail industry worldwide. The retail sector is worth £394 billion as of 2019, and it employs around 2.9 million people, and it also has 208760 separate businesses. It has been stated that the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) such as lockdown and social distancing have resulted in the closing of many shops and retail outlets in the UK. Notably, such measures adopted by the government eventually contributed to all-time low sales and economic activities across some industries, including the retail sector in the UK (Singh, 2020). Also, it has been stated that the COVID 19 pandemic has a significant impact on consumer behaviour. It has been argued that the pandemic has led to changes in consumer behaviour, and they are increasingly shifting towards online shopping.
In contrast, the footfall in the retail stores has fallen dramatically (Lowe, 2020). The disruption to the supply chain caused by the COVID 19 pandemic has further pressurized the retailers (Deloitte, 2020). Similarly, as per the report published by OECD (2020), it has been argued that the impact of the COVID 19 crisis on the retail sector has been mainly due to several factors. In this regard, it has been argued that the retail industry represents a significant component of the country’s economies and also a substantial source of employment. Besides, it has been argued that the retail sector is labour-intensive, and thus any disruption in the retail industry has significant consequences on the profession.
The retail industry is recognized as the major component of the UK economy, contributing more than 5% to its economy. Also, the retail industry in the UK is the primary source of employment for the country’s total workforce (The UK trade and & Investment, 2013). According to the report published by the UK trade and & Investment (2013), the retail industry employs over 10% of the country’s workforce, making it the largest private-sector employer. However, Beland et al. (2020) argued that the COVID 19 crisis has significant implications on employment in almost every sector, including the retail industry. It has been found that the COVID 19 pandemic has increased the unemployment rate and decreased the hours of work. Moreover, Pouliakas & Branka (2020) & Fana et al. (2020) found that the impact on COVID 19 pandemic is more significant among men and young workers. Simultaneously, it has been argued that women, non-natives, the lower educated, and low-wage workers are the most vulnerable segment of the workforce that is likely to be impacted by the COVID 19.
As per the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2020), the unemployment rate in the UK from July to September was estimated to be 4.8% which is 0.7% higher than the previous year. This figure signifies that 1.62 million were unemployed in the country. Accordingly, it has further been estimated that unemployment will reach 2.6 million by mid-2021 if the prevailing trends continue due to COVID 19 (King, 2020).
It is to be noted by Ulster (2020) that the economic consequences of COVID-19 have not been equal for all. Huge vulnerabilities have been exposed while inequalities have been established. The retailers who have been having limited means have been capable of protecting themselves the least. It has been identified that the low-paid workers were poorly impacted in the initial phases of the crisis. The frontline workers who put their health at risk by exposing themselves to the virus to ensure the continuation of different essential services in lockdown periods have been characterized by relatively low wages. It comprises health care workers, food production workers, agricultural workers, truck drivers, and other service staff. Low earners tend to be working in those sectors that have been impacted by shutdowns and suffer from a job or earning loss.
Zikmund (2000) states the fact that workers in the diverse kinds of employment, which tends to be different from that of full-time wage and salary workers with a permanent contract, have been significantly exposed to jobs, and they also had to bear substantial income losses that were prompted by the pandemic. Near about 75% of the self-employed stated to have experienced a significant drop in the UK level compared with that of 255 salaried workers. Furthermore, it has been noted that the workers over fixed-term contracts were the first to lose their jobs in the pandemic.
It has been identified by Kochhar & Barroso (2020) that the impact of the pandemic has been relatively high for informal economy workers who considered staying home means loss of jobs. ILO states the fact that in 2020, 1.2 billion workers in G20 economies are found to be working in informal employment. Out of these, about 850 million of the workers have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis severely, which led to a massive fall in their earnings. It can be revealed that there are two main reasons for such a high proportion of informal workers to be impacted by the lockdown. One of the main reasons has been sectoral, where the casual economy workers are highly represented. The other reason for such an impact on informal workers has been the size of the economic units.
It has been noted by Kochhar & Barroso (2020) that women have tolerated an unequal burden of economic as well as the social cost of the COVID-19 crisis. Women are found to have involved themselves in the frontline occupations basically in health and care sectors because of which they had to face issues to job loss and minimized hours. They also had to face a massive workload at home during the lockdown. Therefore. COVID-19 pandemic has risked erosion of certain gains in terms of gender equality that has been attained in the G20 labor market in the present times. Women are more focused on unsafe jobs than men because of the gender disparities in employment by sector and occupation. Hazardous jobs in case of the pandemic can be identified to be the work that cannot be performed from home and would involve face-to-face contact with the clients. Not only are the women found to have been exposed to dangerous jobs in comparison to the men, but they are also found to have lost jobs because they are over-represented in sectors where massive declines in employment have taken place. It can be mentioned by Lowe (2020) that the crisis has increased the burden of unpaid care as well as domestic work. Most of the responsibility has fallen over women. With the closure of schools and childcare facilities, the amount of time parents spend on a child for schooling, supervision, and care has increased to a great extent. Single parents are found to be highly vulnerable to such issues in comparison to the ones having both mother and father. According to the overview of the present situation, it has been identified that the risk related to domestic violence has increased against women in case of the pandemic because of increasing time spent by women at home.
According to a report published by ILO (2020), it has been argued that COVID 19 pandemic has triggered an enormous disruption in the labor markets across the different industries and has contributed a disproportionate impact, particularly on youth employment. The unusual employment challenge is mainly caused due to heightened economic crisis due to the COVID 19. Correspondingly, it has been stated that there is an urgent requirement to address the issue of the employment crisis and tackle this crisis effectively, as the challenges created by the COVID 19 are far from being ending soon (ILO, 2020). According to Blustein et al. (2020), it has been suggested that to tackle the issue of unemployment in the time of COVID 19, and it is essential to carefully assess the situation to determine the tent of the impact, and based on the assessment, it is necessary to device suitable intervention.
Accordingly, it has been recommended that the government should adopt an integrated approach to economic and employment recovery to protect the jobs of the young people that are out of a job. Moreover, it has also been recommended to develop targeted policy measure labor market programs by reducing recruitment costs (ILO, 2020; Wilson et al., 2020).
It has further been noted by Zikmund (2000) that there are five policy measures that the countries need to consider for the advantages of the firms, workers as well as customers to shield the retail sector from ill effects of pandemic and for improving the resilience.
It is significant to ensure the fact that liquidity assistance schemes are made available for all the retail firms so that they can turn their assets into cash during the crisis. Because the non-essential retail activities face a considerable decline in the demand because of the lockdown, through liquidity assistance, one can avoid the death by accident of the solvent retailers. It is to be noted that the government has offered emergency support to retailers (Dingel & Neiman, 2020). Now it becomes significant to ensure that it is made accessible for all the firms irrespective of the size. Liquidity support measures need to be made available for viable firms to deter adverse impact over business dynamism.
As per the views of Andersen & Et, Al. (2020), the essential retailers need to be assisted with labor supply shortages by leveling the demand-supply matching for the retailers and offering support on health and safety standards. The point worth noticing has been that retail firms are facing a spike in product demand along with the massive decline in the labor supply owing to the containment measures as well as detention restrictions. It is identified that the government has undertaken four distinct types of actions to ensure that households possess access to essential goods and services.
According to Barrot, Basile & Sauvagnat (2020), measures need to be taken by the government to help the retailers to take social distancing seriously. There must be flexible opening hours and clear guidance over health and safety standards basically for sale and delivery. The productivity of the retailer tends to be affected utilizing social distancing. The shock of productivity can be enhanced by government action. It can be done by minimizing the informational barrier and regulatory uncertainty, thereby leading to a steady supply of protective types of equipment. It becomes quite imperative for the government to re-evaluate the regulation of discount sales in physical stores.
As per the views of Raitano & Fana (2019), policies need to be made to ensure the fact that competition in the retail sector remains adequate as a result of the crisis. Although the government did its best to ensure competition remains healthy, the COVID-19 turmoil might lead to the exit of distinct retailers. Such impact tends to be asymmetric because crisis weighs disproportionately over brick-and-mortar as well as small firms. On the other hand, it is found that online and large firms would survive by utilizing their excellent marketing strategies. Under exceptional cases of the COVID-19 crisis, there are cases where the cooperation taking place between the competitor proves to be legitimate and lawful for overcoming any types of disruptions in the economy, as per Brodeur & Et. Al., (2020), it has been identified that to combat this issue, it becomes quite imperative for the government to ensure the fact that there is sufficient competition for avoiding any types of negative impacts over consumers.
According to International Trade Center (2021), there is a need to increase the retail firms’ flexibility level by diversifying the sales channels by assisting small brick-and-mortar retailers in moving online. In several countries, the government tends to provide the business with subsidy thereby permitting firms to diversify and broaden their sales channel. Along with the financial support, it becomes the duty of the government to pay due attention to regulatory barriers that tend to hamper the participation of conventional retailers over online sales. According to Deloitte (2020), COVID-19 tends to impact food and agricultural supply differently, and it becomes essential for the retail sector to consider the flexibility of the supply chain wherever it is needed by depending on diversified sources of goods or by enhancing the level of inventory management.
The proposed research study aims to assess the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic on unemployment in the retail industry of the UK (BBC, 2020).
To achieve this aim, the proposed research study attempts to accomplish the following objectives. These objectives are:
RQ1: What impact does COVID 19 pandemic have on employment in the UK?
RQ2: How has increasing unemployment influenced the performance of the retail industry in the UK?
To achieve the aim of the proposed study effectively and successfully, the researcher needs to select and implement the most appropriate research methodology. Nonetheless, Bryan & Bell (2011) stated that there is no single research methodology that can be applied to achieve the different aims and objectives of the study. In this regard, the selection of the research methodology is claimed to be based on the researcher and the research issue or event that is investigated in the study. Correspondingly, the following section describes and justifies the research methodology applied in the proposed research study.
As per Bajpai (2011), two fundamental research philosophies are categorized as positivism and interpretivism (Bajpai, 2011). Positivist research focuses on scientific inquiry of the subject being studied in the study, and thus the findings are objective in nature and free from research bias. However, positivist research is highly structured, and therefore it offers little flexibility to the researcher in drawing research findings. On the other hand, interpretivism philosophy was developed to address the positivist philosophy’s limitations, and thus it is opposite to positivist research. Interpretive research involves using data collected from multiple sources and thus allows the researcher to evaluate the research issue and develop knowledge from different perspectives. Additionally, interpretive analysis is ascertained to offer researchers greater flexibility (Saunders et al., 2009). Given these benefits of interpretivism research over positivist research, the proposed research study has been considered an interpretivism research study.
3.2 Research Method
Qualitative and quantitative are the two broad types of research methods. The quantitative research method quantifies the research issue using numerical data and statistical tools to draw research findings. Even though the quantitative research study is considered to produce research outcomes and conclusions that are verifiable and generalizable, this method is not regarded as suitable for studying new and complex issues such as COVID 19 and its impact on unemployment (Zikmund, 2000). Hence, to overcome the limitations associated with the use of the quantitative research study, the proposed research study will be based on the qualitative research method. Accordingly, the qualitative research study is mainly concerned with developing rich meaning and insight about the research event using various data.
Moreover, this qualitative research is non-textual data analyzed to develop an in-depth and holistic knowledge that is difficult to attain using quantitative research methods. Finally, it is often claimed that the findings obtained from qualitative research are less generalizable. Still, this research method is one of the most commonly applied research methods investigating complex socio-economic events like unemployment caused by the COVID 19 crisis (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). The study aims to develop a holistic understanding regarding the impact of the COVID 19 on unemployment in the retail industry in the UK rather than obtaining highly generalizable research findings. Hence, the qualitative research method is considered suitable to assess the impact and identify the measures to tackle the adverse effects of the COVID 19 crisis on unemployment in the retail industry of the UK.
Research design is concerned with the roadmap of the research strategy that combines the various elements of the research study to meet the aim and objectives of the study. The selection of the research design requires the researcher to consider the purpose of the study. There are three broad types of research designs. These are exploratory, explanatory, and descriptive research designs (Andrew et al., 2011). The experimental research design is applied in a research study to discover new knowledge and insights. Exploratory research mainly deals with investigating recent events or phenomena for which there is limited literature (Saunders et al., 2009).
On the other hand, the explanatory research design is implemented to determine the cause-effect relationship and is mainly carried out in laboratory settings. In a similar context, a descriptive study is concerned with describing the research issue in detail (Saunders et al., 2009). Accordingly, the proposed research study can be argued to be an exploratory study because the COVID 19 crisis is a new phenomenon that the world has witnessed, as a result of which limited literature and data are examining its impact.
Data collection can be identified as collecting data from all sources to find a solution to the research problem. Data in a research study are collected from secondary and primary sources (Hox & Boeije, 2005). The primary significance of data collection in any research is that it helps ascertain different essential things for the company, such as performance. Preliminary data are considered to be first-hand data that can be gathered employing surveys, observations, interviews, and experiments. The primary data collection method can be divided into two main parts, such as quantitative data collection methods and qualitative data collection methods (Guillemin & et al., 2021).
It is dependent on the mathematical calculations through the use of distinct formats such as correlation and regression, mean, median, mode, and close-ended questions. These methods prove to be relatively cheap in comparison to the qualitative data collection methods. It can also be implemented in a short period.
This method doesn’t comprise any types of mathematical calculations. It is closely linked with components that are not quantifiable. This detailed qualitative data includes interviews, observations, case studies, questionnaires, and so on. Different methods prevail to gather this type of data (Truscott, 2017). They are: -
This method is utilized in case the study is associated with behavioural science. Such methods are implemented systematically and tend to be subjected to different controls and checks.
The interview method can be identified as collecting data through oral or verbal responses (Nastasi, 2015). It is generally attained in two different ways, such as personal interviews and telephonic interviews.
Under such methods, the researcher tends to mail the respondent set of questions. They need to read, reply and return the questionnaire. The questions are printed over the forms.
This method tends to be the same as that of a questionnaire with some differences. The enumerations tend to be appointed to fill the schedules. It tends to demonstrate the aims and object behind the investigation and remove all types of misunderstandings.
The proposed research study involves the collection of relevant data from both secondary and primary sources. The secondary data in the proposed research will be collected from journals, articles, books, reports, and online websites. On the other hand, primary data in the proposed study will be collected using internet-mediated semi-structured interviews. Accordingly, the semi-structured interview method is one of the most widely used data collection tools in the qualitative research study (Hawkins & Mothersbaugh, 2010).
The proposed research study will use an internet-mediated semi-structured interview procedure to collect the primary data to answer the research questions. Accordingly, the semi-structured interview has been conducted with 35 respondents to collect the relevant data for this research (Gratton & Jones, 2010).
To conduct the internet-mediated semi-structured interview, the participants in the study will be allocated sufficient time to answer the research questions and provide their responses freely. Also, the survey questions will be developed based on the knowledge generated from the review of the literature.
The semi-structured interview procedure will be conducted with 15 sample participants, including managers and employees from the retail industry in the UK. The sample participants will be selected using a non-probability sampling method. They will involve a convenience sampling technique which deals with the selection of sample participants that are willing to participate in the study and are readily available for the interview purpose (Etikan et al., 2016).
Once the data are collected using internet-mediated semi-structured interviews, the collected data will be analyzed using suitable qualitative data analysis tools. There are different types of qualitative data analysis tools applied in a research study, but this study will involve using thematic analysis tools to analyse the data (Flick, 2009). The thematic analysis involves determining specific themes and patterns based on the interview transcripts and then analyzing them based on the themes identified. This data analysis technique is considered highly flexible and is also the most commonly applied qualitative data analysis tool (Wang et al., 2018).
The proposed research study will lay considerable attention on preserving the research ethics during the research study. In this regard, the sample participants will be communicated with the aim and objectives of the proposed research. Also, informed consent from each participant will be obtained in advance (Orb, 2021). Finally, the data obtained from the interview will be stored safely, and it will be ensured that these data are used only for the research purpose. It can be revealed that the association and intimacy that takes place between researcher and participant in the context of qualitative studies leads to distinct ethical concerns. The qualitative researchers tend to face respect for privacy, avoiding misrepresentations and open interactions (Rowling, 2020). Confidentiality is also considered to be one of the main issues faced by researchers in qualitative studies. The researchers need to ensure the fact that the answers that have been attained from the interview have been preserved using a high level of confidentiality (Fink, 2017). The researcher also needs to try to minimize the chances of intrusion into the autonomy of the participants. In case compassionate issues are considered, children and vulnerable individuals need to possess an advocate who is present in the initial phase of the study.
Hence, this present study would also try to maintain the utmost confidentiality of data and has attempted to minimize the chances of intrusion in the autonomy of study participants to a great extent (Hedgecoe, 2018). The names of the participants would be kept secret unless it is too important to reveal them.
The proposed research study has certain drawbacks and limitations as well. In this regard, the significant rules associated with the study are related to the travel restrictions due to COVID 19, which limited the ability of the researcher to conduct an in-person interview. Second, the proposed research study does not make use of statistical tools and techniques, which is anticipated to limit the verifiability and generalizability of findings obtained from the proposed research study.
This chapter tends to offer findings that have been collected from the internet-mediated semi-structured interviews. Zoom app has been used to collect data from participants considering the pandemic. The interview has been conducted with 35 sample participants, including managers and employees from the retail industry in the UK. It is utilizing their valuable response, and it was easier to comprehend the impact of unemployment on the retail sector of the UK caused by COVID-19.
The first question of the interview aimed at comprehending the employment status of the participants. It has been identified that 13 participants stated that they are working full time while 14 respondents revealed that they are working part-time. The remaining 8 employees indicated that they are unemployed. It can thus be analyzed that majority of the participants are working either full-time or part-time while quite a few participants are unemployed.
The second question in the questionnaire aimed at comprehending the amount of time the employees dedicate to their work before COVID-19. It has been identified that 15 respondents stated that they saved 39+ hours in their work. 11 respondents mentioned that they dedicated near about 24+ hours in their work before Covid-19. 6 employees revealed that they worked for near about 16+ hours, and 3 of them did not work at all.
It can thus be analyzed that most of the respondents dedicated near about 40 hours of their time to their work.
The third question in the interview aimed at understanding the amount of time that the participants dedicated to working during COVID-19. The response obtained has been just opposite to that of the results that have been obtained in question 2. It was astonishing to learn that during covid-19, only 7 participants dedicated 39+hours to their job. Seven participants further revealed that they saved 24+ hours in their work. 14 participants showed that during the pandemic, they were capable of dedicating 16+ hours to their job. 7 respondents mentioned the fact that they didn't commit any one of the above timing.
It can be analyzed that during the pandemic, quite a few people worked for long hours
Question four of the interview aimed at comprehending if the participant register as a job seeker after the covid-19 pandemic begins. It has been found that 24 of the respondents stated that they did not register themselves as job seekers, while 11 participants registered themselves as job seekers.
It can be analyzed that, taking into consideration the pandemic, most of the participants did not register themselves for new jobs.
The fifth question in the interview aimed at asking the interviewee if, during the pandemic, the income of the respondent was impacted or not. It is a well-known fact that because of lockdowns during the pandemic, the participants were unable to visit their job places. In cases working in an online mode, they were paid less than what they were supposed to receive. From the interview results, it has been apparent that 24 respondents mentioned that their salary was highly impacted because of the pandemic. In comparison, 11 respondents said the fact that they were not impacted by the pandemic at all.
It can be analyzed that Covid-19 has led to a dramatic loss of the lives of humans all over the globe and led to unprecedented challenges in public health, work of work, along food systems. It can be noted that the economic and social disruption that has taken place because of the pandemic has been devastating. Near about 10 million people are at vast risks of falling into the extreme poverty level.
The sixth question in the interview aimed at comprehending if the participants applied for wages through the corona virus job retention scheme or not. It has been identified that 22 respondents stated that they did not apply for the salaries through the coronavirus job retention scheme. In comparison, 13 respondents mentioned that they used for wages through coronavirus job retention scheme.
Hence, it has been analyzed that most of the employees did not apply for the wages through the coronavirus job retention scheme.
Question 7 of the interview aimed at comprehending if, during the pandemic, the participants applied for a grant for self-employed or not. It has been noted from the findings that 24 respondents did not apply for a gift for the self-employed—the remaining 11 used for the grant for the self-employed scheme.
It can be analyzed that most of the participants did not apply for a grant for self-employed.
The eighth question of the interview aimed at comprehending the frequency with which they go shopping before COVID-19. It has been found that 19 respondents stated that they used to go shopping weekly before covid-19. 8 respondents mentioned the fact that they used to go shopping daily, while 8 respondents revealed the fact that they used to go shopping monthly.
It can be analyzed that a significant number of participants used to go shopping weekly prior to the pandemic.
The ninth question in the interview aimed at comprehending the frequency with which the participant went shopping during COVID 19. It has been identified that during the pandemic, 17 participants went shopping monthly, while 11 participants went shopping weekly, and 7 participants did not go shopping at all.
It has been analyzed that most of the participants went shopping during the pandemic monthly.
The tenth question of the interview aimed at comprehending if, after lockdown, the participants would be applying for a new job or not. Most of the participants (12) revealed the fact that they strongly agree with the fact that they would apply for a job after lockdown. 10 participants agreed that they would use it for a job after lockdown. 5 participants disagreed that after lockdown, they will not apply for a new job. 8 participants were relatively neutral with the interview question.
It can be analyzed that considering the situation led by the pandemic, the income level of the participant has declined because most of the companies have laid off their employees while others have imposed salary cuts. Hence, to feed their families, it becomes essential for the participants to look for new jobs.
The eleventh question of the interview aimed at understanding the demographic characteristic of the participants. It has been noted that about 28 participants are male, while the remaining participants are female. It can be analyzed that most of the participants in the semi-structured interview have been male.
The twelfth question of the interview has been aimed at comprehending the age of the participant. It has been found that 16 participants belong to the age group 18-30, 14 respondents belonged to the age group 30-45, 5 respondents belonged to the age group 45-60, while there was no 60+ participant in the interview.
Hence it can be analyzed that most of the participants belonged to the age group 18-30.
The thirteenth question in the interview aimed at comprehending the level of education completed by the participants. 8 participants mentioned that they went to high school, 21 respondents revealed that they studied bachelor's degree, while 6 participants said that they completed their master's degree. None of the participants completed their Ph.D. degrees.
It can be revealed that the maximum number of participants have completed their bachelor's degree.
It can be analyzed that graduate students are experiencing massive panic and uncertainty when the employment prospects are taken into consideration. It has been noted that companies in specific sectors such as leisure, tourism, hospitality are not presently hiring during the pandemic. However, the graduates must not lose their hope. Health, logistics, retailers are found to be booming sectors and are also looking for recruiting graduates. Hence, the graduates are supposed to pay attention to these kinds of industries. It can be revealed that there is a need for a proper plan for the graduates. There is a need for adequate research, and there is a need to unearth such companies owing to the fact that they are not advertising in a comprehensive manner (Wearden, 2020). It can be analyzed that 1 out of 4 employees are planning to look for opportunities with a new company after the threat of pandemic has subsided. It has been noted that most of the employees are leaving their job after the pandemic because of the fact that they are concerned regarding their career advancements. During the pandemic, employees were capable of rethinking their skill sets. It can be revealed that most of the employees have looked for new training and skills during the pandemic so that they are capable of preparing themselves for new jobs in the next few months. The workers who are ready to quit their job overwhelmingly reveal that they are looking for a new job with much flexibility. The people who are capable of working remotely are white college-educated as well as higher-income workers. In case the post-pandemic workplace tends to increase such a trend, then it might worsen prevailing income inequality (Stanciu & et al., 2020)... It can be analyzed that pandemic has raised the anxiety level of workers that they are not learning any set of new skills or getting the room for advancements unless they would leave the company. Pandemic had led to an accelerated rate of technological adoption for remaining competitive and learning new skills. The workers in the near future would be opting for the jobs that would pay them better and would offer them the scope to learn new skills in advance and offer benefits that tend to pay attention towards work-life balance.
This particular section is considered to be the final part of the study that demonstrates the summary of the paper. It proves to be vital because it assists in ascertaining the efficiency of the article. In this chapter, the focus is laid upon the determination of the fact if the research has been capable of attaining the research objectives or not. In case the study lacks specific analysis, then this particular chapter will help in adequately determining such issues. By considering the research objectives, this specific study took into consideration the qualitative research approach. It took into account an inductive research study so that the research issue can be appropriately addressed. The main objective of the paper has been to assess the impact of unemployment on the retail industry of the UK caused by Covid-19. There are other objectives of the report as well that have been fulfilled in this study. Special attention has been paid to the accuracy of the paper. Despite the different restrictions that the information had, the objective of the article has been to offer the reader a comprehensive account of the research work. The main findings of the paper have been presented in the article below. It can be revealed that about 7.6 million jobs in the UK are at huge risks because of the COCID-19 related lockdowns. People and places that have the lowest income tend to be quite vulnerable. It has been noted that since the government in the globe are looking for ways to save lives by slowing the spread of coronavirus, they are supposed to take massive measures with significant implication on economic activity. In order to control the spread of the virus, the government of the UK declared a lockdown.
Though it helped control public health crisis. However, it is taking a toll on the economy. There has been a significant fall in the output, which implies the employment level. It has been noted that in the case of lockdowns, about 7.6 million jobs are at risk (Stanciu & et al., 2020). There had been permanent layoffs, temporary furloughs, and depreciation in the pay and hours. The risks proved to be skewed, and people with the lowest income are pretty vulnerable. It has been found from the findings that quite a few people were working for 39+ hours during the corona pandemic. It was further noted that after the pandemic, only 11 respondents would register as job seekers. The reason behind this is the loss of confidence among the employees to work again or apply themselves in good companies. It has been noted that the income of most of the participants has been affected to a great extent. Most people are moving out for shopping less frequently because they do not possess adequate funds due to unemployment (BBC, 2020).
It can be recommended that shortly when conducting similar studies, it is quite imperative to take into consideration the mixed research approach in order to attain better viewpoints regarding the situation. The number of participants also needs to be increased in the coming times. It is the company and the policymakers who would be capable of assisting workforce transition. There need to be additional training and policy programs for the workers. Companies and government need to exhibit extraordinary flexibility and adaptability for responding to the pandemic with good purpose and innovation that can also be harnessed to retool the workforce in a manner that point to brighter future of the work of the employees in the organization.
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