How will the end of the furlough scheme impact the current jobs market?
As the end of September is upon us, the UK Government’s furlough scheme is coming to an end. Having been made available to protect employers and employees throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, it is estimated that 11.6 million jobs have been supported since the scheme began in March 2020.
Amanda Simpson, CEO and Founder of one of business services specialists, SVC Solutions, comments on how the furlough scheme ending could impact the current jobs market.
The current jobs market
It is no secret that the current jobs market is a tough one. We have been seeing this across the board here at SVC Solutions.
As the economy has opened up, job vacancies are at an ultimate high as the demand for skilled workers has risen. Just last month there were a total of 953,000 job openings in the UK.
SVC Solutions has seen a 60% uplift in the number of vacancies for which we are recruiting, resulting in successfully placing 40% more candidates. Although this is extremely encouraging, we are noticing that the demand for employees is currently outpacing the number of quality candidates who are seeking roles. Previously, this could be put down to people preferring to be placed on furlough rather than looking for a new role and getting back to the workplace sooner. However now that furlough is ending, this is no longer an option.
Furlough and the Coronavirus pandemic has meant many people want to benefit from flexible working and competitive salaries. It is very much a candidate driven world and people know what they want when it comes to their new role.
We’ve seen first-hand the price war in terms of salaries out competing each other and the difficulty in filling temp roles as people want security and to move away from minimum wage.
It’s tough out there for employers looking to expand their team and I don’t believe the jobs market will truly sort itself out until the end of the year.
It’s going to take time to catch up.
Many people might be made redundant as businesses can no longer afford to keep them and furloughed employees may not feel ready to return to work after a long period of time off.
I do believe though that by January we will start seeing vacant positions being filled and businesses starting to adapt to this new world of work, which includes offering flexible working and wellbeing support.
Redundancy and HR support
Unfortunately, many employers may have started the redundancy process in preparation for the furlough scheme ending or have formally notified their employees they are at risk of not returning to work.
It is incredibly important for businesses to go through a consultancy process and this can be further supported by gaining advice from an expert HR professional. The process identifies whether a redundancy can be avoided through offering an alternative position as well as agreeing a payment package.
Redundancy is a tough topic for both employers and employees and although we are seeing the economy starting to recover, with the number of planned job cuts dropping by 11% in August compared to July, employers still need to ensure their HR department is prepared for future staffing needs.
Training and Coaching
For those employees who will be returning to work at the end of the month, there needs to be the correct support in place.
Some may have been furloughed since the scheme started 16 months ago and so may feel extremely worried and unconfident returning to the workplace. It’s important to reassure your team and get them up to speed as quickly as possible, whilst helping them develop and fine tune their capabilities.
Training is great for this.
As business service providers, we always look at organisations holistically and objectively. From our bespoke scheme called Management in a Box, which helps businesses advance existing employees into management roles, to one-on-one coaching sessions that focus on skills, mind-set and practical tactics to implement in the workplace, it’s important to make employees feel they are valued and wanted within your business.
Training and coaching are great ways to motivate team members and provide them with the confidence they need to return to work.