Redundancies and How to Cope: Navigating Career Transitions

Only three years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented levels of redundancies worldwide, leaving many individuals struggling with the financial and emotional implications of job loss.

Fast forward to 2023, and the UK is now facing another set of challenges. While the WHO recently downgraded the pandemic from the highest alert level, the UK is currently grappling with a significant inflation and cost of living crisis, in addition to the lingering effects of the health crisis. Almost like a deja vu, the government is now reporting a record high number of UK employers exploring potential redundancies since mid-pandemic levels, driven by a combination of soaring overheads, labour shortages, and sluggish economic growth.

As recruitment experts, we are aware of the hardships that redundancies bring. We have assisted numerous job seekers navigate through career transitions during challenging times. In this article we will aim to offer our best advice on how to cope with a redundancy.

Step 1: Understanding Redundancies

Redundancies can occur in various forms, each with its own distinct characteristics and implications. The three main types of redundancies commonly observed are:

  1. Voluntary redundancies: where employees choose to leave their positions willingly (e.g., for attractive severance packages, early retirement options, or a desire to explore new opportunities).
  2. Involuntary redundancies: when employees are ‘let go’ by their employers due to factors such as financial constraints, operational changes, or downsizing. These are beyond the employees control, so they can create a strong sense of upheaval and anxiety. If you’re in this situation, make sure you understand your rights and seek support if needed. Check out this page by Citizens Advice.
  3. Structural redundancies: when specific roles or departments are eliminated or consolidated because of organisational restructuring or changes in business models. These often require affected employees to adapt their skills, consider retraining options, or explore alternative career paths, as they’re driven by the need to streamline operations, adapt to market conditions, or improve efficiency.

Redundancies – especially when involuntary – can have a significant impact on individuals’ mental well-being, leading to heightened stress, anxiety, and feelings of loss. The sudden disruption to routine and uncertainty about prospects can contribute to emotional and financial challenges. But there are several strategies you can use to navigate this career transition.

Step 2: Adopt Coping Strategies for Redundancies

  1. Acknowledging and processing emotions

It is completely natural to experience a range of emotions such as shock, anger, sadness, or even a momentary loss of self-worth. Taking the time to recognise and validate these emotions will help you gain a better understanding of your situation, and progressively pave your way for growth. Don’t hesitate to seek support from professional resources such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Jobcentre Plus or a local recruitment agency like Sitka.

  1. Building and reaching out to a support network

Building and reaching out to a professional support network is crucial during times of redundancy. Firstly, it can provide you with peer support and can help alleviate feelings of isolation. Secondly, a professional support network can open doors to valuable resources and opportunities.

Don’t shy away from polishing up your LinkedIn profile and engaging with people’s content! Networking with fellow industry professionals and mentors can provide you with invaluable insights into the job market and potential opportunities. Beyond generic job posts, this can open you to referrals, introductions, and hidden job opportunities you wouldn’t find otherwise. As usual, make sure to stay in touch with a trusted recruitment agency that values candidate experience, as they will be able to help you make informed decisions and take proactive steps toward your career goals.

Be sure to check out the ReAct Plus scheme in Wales if you are eligible, as they can provide financial support, skills training and personal development support.

Step 3: Upskill!

There are many practical ways you can make the most out of the “in between jobs” time:

  1. Assessing your skills, strengths, and interests: taking the time to assess skills, strengths, and interests after a redundancy can be a powerful tool in transforming the challenges of redundancy into opportunities for growth and development. By understanding your profile better, you can identify areas where you can add value as an employee and contribute meaningfully to your next role.
  1. Exploring alternative career paths and opportunities: by looking into transferable and soft skills, you can give yourself a chance to discover new career paths and potentially, a role that is more fulfilling than your previous one. It’s important to approach this with an open mind – you might need to learn new skills but luckily, there are several sources of free training available online like Google Garage or Hubspot.
  1. Enhancing employability through upskilling and retraining: with more time on your hands, make sure to invest in new areas that align with your new goals and current job market demands. By upskilling and retraining, you can remain competitive and increase your chances of finding new employment opportunities. Besides, it demonstrates resilience, adaptability, and willingness to learn, which is highly valued by potential employers!

Step 4: Reach out to a reliable recruitment agency

If you are facing a redundancy, remember that you are not defined by your job or the circumstances surrounding it. This is an opportunity for growth and reinvention: do your best to embrace the process and tap into your support networks to navigate this transition! Also be sure to talk to your family and friends about how you are feeling – they want to help.

Finally, if you work in HR, marketing or finance make sure to reach out to a local agency like Sitka: with 20 years of experience in recruitment under our belt, we can provide access to job opportunities, support with CV writing and interview skills, and give you valuable insights into the job market.

Take the first step by calling us at 029 2048 4520 or emailing us at


Additional resources:

Mental Health Support Sources in the UK:

  1. NHS Mental Health Services Wales
  2. Mind Cymru : mental health charity
  3. Samaritans Cymru: a helpline that provides 24/7 emotional support helpline for individuals in distress.
  4. CALL Mental Health Helpline: Helplines such as the Mental Health Helpline (0800 132 737) offer support, information, and guidance on mental health issues.
  5. Local Support Groups with Platfform
  6. ReAct Plus scheme in Wales

Here’s a list of Financial Support Advice in Wales. It’s important to note that availability and specific services may vary, so individuals are advised to research and reach out to relevant organisations based on their specific needs and circumstances.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line