Over 40% of furloughed Britons not looking for a new job, recruiter Indeed finds

·2-min read
Employers across a range of sectors - particularly hospitality and leisure firms - are facing a staffing crisis (Pexels/Pixabay)
Employers across a range of sectors - particularly hospitality and leisure firms - are facing a staffing crisis (Pexels/Pixabay)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's flagship Covid support measure, the furlough scheme, is being scaled back and is set to fold in late September.

Nearly two million workers were still on furlough as of the end of June, according to ONSfigures, and experts are divided on the impact its closure will have on the labour market.

There are reams of vacancies on offer as the jobs market has bounced back strongly since the majority of lockdown restrictions lifted in May. Latest data showed the economy had added half a million jobs in the past three months.

At the same time, employers across a range of sectors - particularly hospitality and leisure firms - are facing a staffing crisis.

Some CEOs believe the winding up of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will help ease the labour shortages, but others argue shortages are here to stay as they being fuelled by Brexit and other longer-term macro factors.

A new survey of more than 5,000 British adults from jobs site Indeed, released on Thursday, found found 41% of those still fully or partially furloughed are not open to searching for a new job.

Of these respondents, 71% said they were not job-seeking because they expect to return to their pre-pandemic role.

Just 9% of those who were not searching for alternative employment believed there was no work available nearby.

When analysing responses from both people on furlough and those who said they were unemployed, Indeed researchers found just 11% were carrying out an "urgent search" for a new role.

Around 30% of unemployed people who are not urgently looking for work said they had "a financial cushion sufficient for some time", and so were being choosier about job opportunities.

The jobs site concluded its research suggests current staff shortages may be in part a result of "a lack of urgency among jobseekers to find a new role, even if they are unemployed or still on furlough".

Site economist, Jack Kennedy, warned that with almost two million people still on furlough, “some may soon learn they will not be going back [to their old role] and will therefore need to start actively searching" for jobs.

He said: "Many employers are desperate for staff, but a significant portion of the workforce appear surprisingly relaxed about finding work, preferring to wait for more job opportunities to emerge.

“Even with the end of the furlough scheme looming, most are feeling optimistic about returning to their workplace and so are in no rush to find a new job.

“For now, amid a backdrop of robust labour demand and a strong sellers’ market, most people seem to feel they can be choosy about their next job move.”

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