Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 21:15 UK

Job losses felt across the board

By Emma Simpson
Business correspondent, BBC News

Thames Valley Executive Job Club
People who had good careers are suddenly out of work

One by one they introduced themselves in the council chambers in Newbury, from an architect and graphic designer to a logistics manager and international recruitment consultant.

It was an impressive line-up of talent and experience.

The only trouble was that everyone in the room had lost their job.

They had come to the weekly Thames Valley Executive Job Club, run by volunteers, for some much needed advice and support. There are not many other places, it seems, for out of work professionals to go for help.

Searching

Dean Weller used to be a business operations manager for Vodafone but has been unemployed since January. Like all the others here, he would normally have walked into another job. Not now.

"At first you think you're going to find another role very quickly. I know recruitment - I've done the recruiting in the past," he said.

Dean Weller
Dean Weller has been unemployed since January

"Previously, I might have had four or five conversations, with options to choose from. I know I'm a capable manager, and I know that I interview well. But the response I'm getting? Well, it's commonly 'no response,'" he said

Dean has gone from being a boss to being at home. It is hard, he says, staying focused on searching for the right job: "Getting a job is a full-time occupation for me. I've committed a lot of time and resources to it. "

"It's the same as I would as if I'm employed. The situation is unprecedented... it's disappointing and it's sad that we find ourselves in this situation so quickly."

'Daunting'

In the last two recessions, the effects were felt, above all, by manual workers losing their jobs. This time round, the impact is being felt right across the economy of the UK, including many who once seemed untouchable.

Trevor Cullen is one of them. He used to be a managing director, running a telecoms company which once had sales of £15m a year.

Job centre in Glasgow
The level of unemployment has risen as the recession has continued

But even award-winning Trevor has felt the need for professional help in finding a new role.

The 48-year-old has been getting career coaching on how to sell yourself.

"I hadn't been in an interview situation since 1988," Mr Cullen said.

"I felt as if my whole career account had been erased. The whole process felt very daunting, very scary and I felt alone. I really needed to get help".

He came to Corinne Mills for advice. Her company, Personal Career Management, has seen a 300% increase in business in the last year.

During our visit, two calls came in from chief executives seeking information.

"There's a huge need out there," says Ms Mills.

"We've seen lawyers, solicitors, and a whole host of other professionals who are used to making the business decisions.

"These are our captains of industry. They're the people who make it happen, who make our industry prosper, so if they're not able to create wealth then we'll all suffer," she says.



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