The end of furlough: Will finding candidates be easier?

The end of furlough: Will finding candidates be easier?

September 28, 2021
Industry News

After nearly 18 months, the UK Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough) is finally coming to an end.

So what will happen in the recruitment industry? We’ve put together some predictions and in this post, we’ll explain what it could mean for your advertising.

The 30th of September will be the last day where the government will pay 60% of furloughed staff’s salaries, leaving employers with a choice. Either make redundancies or bring staff fully back to work.

Will unemployment rise?

With 1.6 million people still on furlough at the end of July 2021 (according to the HMRC data), a surge in redundancies and unemployment is looking likely for the start of October. 

Exactly how much is still uncertain, with various industry bodies making very different predictions. (1)

Whatever happens, we’re not expecting any groundbreaking changes to the day-to-day recruitment industry. There’s a record-breaking number of UK vacancies at the moment, so any unemployment surge is almost certainly going to be balanced out pretty quickly again.

Will jobs get more applications?

Depending on your sector and where you’re recruiting in the UK, you might see a rise in the number of applications you receive. More significantly, you may start to see more qualified candidates applying who were previously unavailable due to being tied up on furlough.

Read more: Which sectors will be most impacted by the end of furlough? - Ask TN

Read more: Which UK regions will be most impacted by the end of furlough? - Ask TN

We’re not expecting any of these application increases to be monumental, and it certainly won’t be a silver bullet to solve your candidate shortage overnight.

Will candidates start behaving differently?

On job aggregator sites, candidate behaviours have already started to shift in the run-up to the start of October. 

Some of the job aggregators that we work with at Talent Nexus, have told us that there’s already been a rise in the number of people browsing their sites. 

Candidates appear to be ‘window shopping’ ahead of the end of the furlough scheme, leading to an increase in impressions and clicks for advertisers. 

In the immediate future, this means lower conversion rates - ie. more impressions and clicks per application generated, But it could suggest that an increase in applications could be on the way once these candidates are released from the scheme in October.

How do recruiters need to prepare?

There are some simple actions that recruitment teams can take. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’re ready to take full advantage of this moment.

  • Re-engage with furloughed candidates in your database - If you’ve spoken to anyone (including passive candidates) in your CRM who you know have been on furlough, now is the time for your recruiters to reach back out and snap them up.
  • Unlock some flexible budget - If more candidates do become available, make sure you have some advertising budget ready to spend and reach them before they leave the job market again. Topping up your budget with some pay-for-performance spend (on sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or Adzuna) means that you’ll be able to quickly scale up or down your advertising if you need to. Check out this growth blueprint to see how flexibility can help your recruitment agency grow.
  • Speed up anything you can in your recruitment process - If the end of furlough does turn in to a race to snap up candidates - being able to place candidates faster than competing recruiters can make a big difference. We’ve got a separate growth blueprint all about how you can reach candidates through advertising faster than competitor recruiters. Take a look here.
  • Keep an eye on how things change - This is one of those times when closely watching the how things progress could really pay off. Keep an eye on the headlines, as well as recruitment-specific insights from places like the REC. You can also look at data trends on Indeed’s Hiring Lab and in the idibu index on Linkedin.

(1) Unemployment forecasts

The treasury forecast shows a predicted unemployment rate of 5.5% in Q4 2021

The Bank of England expects unemployment to be 4.75% by the end of 2021

ING are predicting a rise to 5.5% once furlough ends

Join 2,570 recruiters getting recruitment advertising tips and insights every month.
Thanks for signing up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read these next: