Overcoming Common Barriers to Employment


Alasdair Anderson

Date Posted

7th December 2023


There are a wide range of barriers to employment which affect jobseekers. These barriers affect socioeconomic and ethnic groups differently, but we have identified five common barriers which are faced by almost all jobseekers in the UK but especially those who may not speak English as a first language. This blog has been created to help jobseekers overcome these barriers, improve their chances of submitting successful job applications and to help streamline what can sometimes be an arduous task.

  • Relevant Experience

Describing previous experience can be challenging especially if you have limited work experience and you are translating your CV into English. However, it’s good to remember that previous experience doesn’t only come from past employment but also hobbies, extra-curricular activities and general life experience. Learning how to articulate all of your experiences concisely and apply

  • Documentation

There is a lot of documentation involved with starting a new job especially if you have just moved to another country for work. Keeping your documentation organised and accessible can save you a lot of time and stress. One common issue candidates face is proof of address. Generally, some forms of proof of address cannot be digital copies, e.g., bank statements which often need to be printed out from a bank and stamped in order to be valid. P60s are probably the easiest form of proof of address to obtain as these can now be accepted in digital format and anyone who works in the UK can access one.

  • References

Having a number of people who can write positive and reliable references for you can aid your job applications a great deal. These people should be familiar with your work ethic, skills and achievements. It’s worth remembering that referees don’t always have to be managers, especially if they are managers whom you didn’t frequently interact with. They can also be teachers, supervisors or other colleagues who you feel like know you well. Asking them in advance can also help you save time with your applications.

  • Employment Gaps

Having gaps between periods of employment is common and not necessarily a bad thing! The reasons for having gaps between periods of employment are varied; some may take a break to return to education, start a family or care for other relatives. Its important, however, that any gaps between periods of employment are stated and justified on your CV and application. Its also a good idea to explain which skills you developed or gained during these periods of your life.

  • Language & Communication

Language and communication barriers can be significant for those who do not speak English as a foreign language. However, it’s important to remember that even native English speakers can struggle to communicate clearly especially when in a pressured situation such as a job interview. Many people will prepare their answers for interview questions and those who have learned English as a foreign language should do the same. Learning set phrases and memorising examples of times when you showed employability skills can help you to communicate concisely in front of prospective employers.