LinkedIn tackles UK’s soaring unemployment with a suite of new features

Man holding coffee cup applying for a job on the internet using a laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft and LinkedIn have launched new features to help the UK’s 1.7 million unemployed connect to new job opportunities by promoting their skills and expertise.

The four newly-announced tools include a dedicated Service Page for freelancers and SMBs, a Cover Story feature which lets users share videos of their work, Creator Mode which helps turn a LinkedIn profile page into a content portfolio, and a Career Coach tool which provides personalised guidance for those entering the job market.

The Career Coach is a Microsoft Teams app powered by LinkedIn which uses an AI-based skill identifier to help students better understand their goals, interests, and skills. As a LinkedIn integration, it works by aligning a student’s profile with current job market trends and connecting them to mentors, as well as promoting skills, which LinkedIn managing director Josh Graff described as “the engine of growth”.

“There is tremendous value in job seekers understanding their transferable skills and ensuring they are front and centre when applying to roles,” he said. “Traditional hiring practices of assessing candidates based on their formal qualifications and experience means that so many capable people that are currently unemployed, or facing unemployment, risk being locked out of the job market since they may not tick all the “right” boxes.”

Graff also said that the "already uneven playing field" of the job market had been "further exacerbated" by the pandemic. Last year, LinkedIn was forced to axe 960 jobs, approximately 6% of its global workforce, due to the global health crisis.

Apart from the four new features created in collaboration with LinkedIn, Microsoft also recently launched a new online platform aiming to connect more UK job seekers with companies looking for apprentices.

Announced last month, the Microsoft Apprenticeship Connector seeks to simplify the search process by listing current apprenticeship vacancies across Microsoft’s network of partners and customers, such as Intequal, Firebrand, and GP Strategies.

Commenting on the announcement, Microsoft senior director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, Hugh Milward, said that it’s necessary to “change in how businesses identify, recruit and nurture talent”.

According to Milward, “a truly inclusive recovery will require a skills-based economy and that only happens if you have a skills-based jobs market”.

“We are committed to leading that change by helping people get the skills they need to succeed and employers the tools to make their first of many skills-based hires,” he added.

The news comes just days after chancellor Rishi Sunak urged companies that had benefited financially during the pandemic to invest the money in driving the UK’s recovery and “create jobs in the process”.

According to the most recent ONS findings, 5% of the UK workforce is currently out of work.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.