Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has been subsidising wages for workers. It has been extended four times throughout the course of the pandemic and is set to end on the 30th September.

From July, employers will have to contribute to furlough pay for hours not worked. The contribution will start at 10% in July then rise to 20% by August and September. This means the government contribution will go down to 70% then 60%.

We’ve rounded up the ten facts about how the furlough scheme has affected the UK’s job market. Read on to find out more.

1️. Over 11 million workers have been covered by the UK’s furlough scheme since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of jobs furloughed peaked at 8.9 million on the 8th of May last year. Since this date the number has shrunk down to around 2.4 million.


2. The people who remained working during the pandemic whilst the furlough scheme was in full swing saw their hours decline.

Whilst some workers did not have the option or ability to use the furlough scheme, they did see their number of hours decline. The lowest number of hours recorded was around 840 million per week; it has now shot up to 975.3 million per week.


3. In the month of May 2021, the government has borrowed approximately £24.3 billion.

The total amount borrowed by the government is on a slow decline as the economy begins to recover. At the height of pandemic in April 2020, the government borrowed almost £50 billion.

5. More female workers have been furloughed than men since March 2020.

Evidence has been found to prove that there have been more female than male workers furloughed in the UK.


5. Younger people have accounted for a large proportion of those on furlough, but every age group has seen workers furloughed.

Those who were more likely to work in the sectors of the economy worst hit by the lockdown measures such as hospitality appeared to be younger people. Despite this, every age group still saw workers furloughed.


6. The hospitality industry saw the highest value in claims made on the furlough scheme.

At £5.1 billion, the hospitality and food services sector has claimed the highest value through the furlough scheme. The wholesale and retail sector followed behind with £3.7 billion made in claims.

Some employers have already repaid the money they claimed from the government for furlough such as big supermarket, who were able to stay open.




7. People working in entertainment and arts and leisure were more likely to be on furlough than any other industries. 

Though not entirely unprecedented, the data shows that those working in the arts and leisure industries were more likely to be put on the furlough scheme than others. With no option to work from home this data wasn’t an unusual find.


8. Redundancies have fallen to almost pre-pandemic numbers.

There was more than 111,000 workers that were made redundant between February and April 2021. Companies began making more redundancies at the end of 2020 as the understanding was that the furlough scheme was coming to an end.


9. HMRC has indicated that up to 10% of the money delivered by the furlough scheme was paid in fraud or error.

Up to £3.5 billion could have been paid in error or fraudulently, according to the HMRC. There are also concerns that the scheme hasn’t actually safeguarded sustainable jobs. Some believe the furlough scheme has been used as a tool by businesses to delay the inevitable loss of unfeasible jobs.


10. The number of job vacancies has jumped back up and reached 758,000.

The number of open job vacancies fell during the early stages of the pandemic as expected, but offers are now on the rise. Employers are in fact having worries about finding suitable staff.


If you are an employer looking for suitable staff for your business, Workforce provide the best quality candidates for their perfectly fitted role. To learn more about our services, click here.



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