Furloughed workers not seeking new roles

Although the furlough scheme is set to be phased out by the end of September, only 11% of workers still on furlough are urgently searching for a new job according to research from job site Indeed.

The labour market has rebounded since the easing of lockdown restrictions.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the unemployment rate has fallen from 4.9% to 4.7% and job postings have increased past pre-pandemic levels. 

Yet employers across a range of sectors, particularly in hospitality, are struggling to fill vacancies.

The furlough scheme:

Working parents hit by furlough refusals

Furlough scheme makes pay cuts the norm

Lack of clarity and uncertainty prompting workers to break furlough rules

Indeed’s research found jobseekers lacking urgency to find a new role, even if they are unemployed or still on furlough, may be contributing to these challenges.

Just 7% of all workers surveyed, including those working full or part-time, said they were urgently seeking a new role, rising to 11% among those on furlough or unemployed.

In total, two-fifths (41%) of those still on furlough are not searching for a new job, along with over half (56%) of those not currently in work.

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said employees on furlough appear to be taking a relaxed approach to the post-pandemic job market.

He told HR magazine: “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.

“But with almost two million people still on the furlough job retention scheme, some may soon learn they will not be going back and will therefore need to start actively searching.”

Around 30% of unemployed people who are not urgently looking for work said they had a financial cushion sufficient for some time.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of people without a job said they could manage because their spouse or partner was still employed.

Meanwhile, 15% said they were not urgently looking for work due to COVID-19 fears.

Another 14% said they could get by on their benefits, while 13% indicated their search wasn’t pressing because they had caring responsibilities.

Kennedy said employees should be careful not to be too complacent with their finances post-pandemic.

He warned: “The financial cushions enjoyed by some unemployed workers will also eventually erode and will create a greater sense of urgency among those currently out of work but still happy to sit on the sidelines.

"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.”