Santander supports personal and business customers with virtual careers fair as research reveals the impact of the pandemic on career prospects

  • 48% of working adults believe the pandemic has impacted their career prospects, according to new research by Santander UK(1)
  • To support people back into employment, Santander is to host a virtual Careers Fair(2) on 10 March
  • Companies from sectors including tech, engineering, retail, manufacturing and financial services, collectively recruiting more than 600 staff, will attend the Fair
  • The event is part of Santander’s focus on supporting customers facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic

Half of working adults (48%) in the UK believe the pandemic has impacted their career prospects, according to new research from Santander UK.

The research shows that one in ten believe the industry in which they work has become unstable following the events of the past year. Meanwhile, 8% have had their pay reduced, 11% have had their work hours cut as some businesses battle to keep going, and one in 20 have taken on a job for which they feel over-qualified. One in ten people had been planning to change careers but have put this on hold due to the pandemic. 

However, 39% have taken positive steps to improve their prospects, with just over half (51%) updating their CVs, 36% retraining and 27% starting a ‘side hustle’ business. 

As part of its effort to support those facing the financial challenges presented by the pandemic, Santander is hosting a virtual Careers Fair on 10 March 2021 to help people find employment. The online event will connect job seekers with employers from sectors including tech, engineering, retail, manufacturing and financial services. Some of the businesses attending are Santander’s own customers and more than 600 positions will be on offer.

Nathan Bostock, CEO, Santander UK, who will be speaking at the Careers Fair, said: “As many people continue to face the pressures of the pandemic it is very important that we consider the broader role that we, as a bank, can play in society and how we can use our resources to support the communities in which we operate. Santander is committed to helping customers, not just with direct financial support but also with initiatives that go beyond banking, like our virtual Careers Fair. 

“By working in partnership with our nationwide network of business customers, we hope to be able to make a meaningful contribution to supporting employment and finding the talent needed to drive the UK's economic recovery. We know that the next few months will be a difficult time for many, but we are determined to do what we can to help.”

As well as providing job hunters with the opportunity to meet employers, the Careers Fair will feature a number of practical sessions such as skills development, starting a ‘side hustle’ business, apprenticeships, career transitions and the role of sustainability in business.

Santander’s research also revealed what people would like to change about their career. It found that a fifth wish they had pursued a role working for a small company and 32% would like to have started their own business. Of those who went to university, 43% wish they had learnt on the job – for example, as an apprentice – rather than studying for a degree.

As well as its Career Fair, Santander has dedicated resource across the bank to supporting customers throughout the pandemic.   

FINANCIAL PRODUCT SUPPORT: Santander UK has offered customers payment holidays for mortgages, credit cards and personal loans, as well as support with overdrafts and immediate access to fixed term savings accounts without penalties. It also works closely with customers in financial difficulty to create solutions tailored to their individual circumstances. 

TELEPHONE AND ONLINE CHAT: Santander UK launched a dedicated number for customers needing urgent financial assistance at the start of the pandemic – 0800 015 6382. In 2020, it also introduced Chat, a new digital channel for customers, providing 24/7 service through a chatbot (robot) designed to either provide the answer immediately or direct them to where they can find help. If required, and subject to colleague availability, the chatbot can pass over to a customer services agent.

DEDICATED ONLINE RESOURCE: Santander UK’s online ‘Help with managing my money’ hub has been developed to provide ‘self-service’ support across a wide range of common money concerns. The dedicated hub features a host of budgeting and money management guidance and tools and links to community support organisations such as debt charities, and Citizens Advice.  Santander UK’s business support initiative ‘Survive and Revive’ includes a suite of online resources such as webinars to watch on demand, marketing toolkits, and information about e-commerce packages to help businesses get trading online. 

COLLEAGUE OUTREACH AND TRAINING: During the pandemic, branch-based colleagues have made phone calls to thousands of customers aged 65 and over to check on their wellbeing and connect them with organisations that can assist them. Hundreds of colleagues have been trained to guide customers who are facing financial challenges at this time.

CHARITABLE AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Since the pandemic began, the bank has doubled colleagues’ volunteering hours to 70. More than half of Santander UK colleagues have become ‘Dementia Friends’, learning about dementia and how to help people living with it. Colleagues have also volunteered to support the country’s coronavirus vaccination effort. 

The Santander Foundation has donated £3 million to the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK, and Santander UK has given a further £4.5 million in funding to its university partners for the initiatives they have launched to combat the effects of coronavirus. Also, NHS and key workers have been given free access to Santander Cycles for journeys under 30 minutes – more than 220,000 free hires have been made to date.

- Ends -
The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors 
1)    Research undertaken with OnePoll between 5 and 8 January 2021, among 2,000 UK adults aged 16 to 64, employed or recently unemployed.
2)    To register for the Santander virtual Careers Fair, visit: here. Job seekers can register until 10 March to join live on the day, or until 7 April to access recorded content following the live event. During the Careers Fair, job seekers and other registered visitors will enter the online exhibition on 10 March, watching scheduled live and pre-recorded videos - some of which will be interactive, with delegates able to ask questions of speakers - in a virtual main auditorium, and breakout session areas. They can also meet with employers to discuss job opportunities via video call or online chat at virtual exhibition stands.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2020, the bank had around 21,900 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of 2020, Banco Santander had more than a trillion euros in total funds, 148 million customers, of which 22.8 million are loyal and 42.4 million are digital, 11,000 branches and 191,000 employees.