Close
Subscribe to Indeed Hiring Lab UK

Keep up with the latest

Indeed Job Search Survey August 2021: Still Little Urgency in UK to Find a New Job

by

The August Indeed UK Job Search Survey shows that people remained in no hurry to find a new job.

Key points

  • The August 2021 Indeed UK Job Search Survey found no sign of an uptick in search urgency, suggesting hiring challenges will persist. 
  • Many of those on furlough still expected to return to jobs, while many unemployed people continued to rely on financial cushions. 
  • Young people ages 18-24 were searching the most actively, suggesting job recruiters may want to focus on this group.
  • Most people said they wanted their next job to be in a different field from their current one, which means sector switchers could be another potential source of hires. 

Demand for labour in the UK continues to grow apace, resulting in hiring difficulties in a number of sectors. 

To help understand the UK’s labour market dynamics, the Indeed Hiring Lab surveyed 5,000 people in mid-August, ages 18-64. The sample included both individuals in and out of the labour force, taking in employed workers, those on furlough and the jobless. 

The latest survey findings echo those from July, with most people still not in a rush to find a new job. That suggests employers struggling to fill positions could well continue experiencing shortages of candidates in the near term. 

Still little sense of urgency to find work

There was little indication that people were ready to meet the current strong demand for labour. Just 7% of respondents said they were urgently looking for a job in August, while 17% said they were searching without urgency and 28% were passively searching. These proportions were virtually identical to those from the July survey. 

Bar chart titled “Little change in search behaviour since July.” With a vertical axis ranging from 0% to 60%, Indeed compared the percent of the population ages 18 to 64 years old either “actively looking, urgently,” “actively looking, not urgently,” “passively searching,” or “not open to searching” for work with different coloured bars representing July and August 2021. As of August 17, 2021, 7% of respondents said they were urgently looking for a job, while 17% said they were searching without urgency and 28% were passively searching.

Even among the jobless and those on furlough, there was no great sense of urgency to find work. Around 57% of those out of work and 44% of those on furlough said they were not open to searching, little changed from 56% and 41% respectively in July. 

The most common reason for those on either partial or full furlough not to search, cited by 49% of respondents, was because they expected to return to their jobs. With the furlough scheme finishing at the end of September, these people will soon know whether that will happen. A further 16% of furloughed respondents said they didn’t feel comfortable working at an in-person job due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Bar chart titled “Expecting to return to job main reason for furloughed workers not searching.” With a horizontal axis ranging from 0% to 60%, Indeed compared the major reasons given by partially or fully furloughed respondents for not searching in August 2021. As of August 17, 2021, 49% of those on furlough, either partially or fully, stated they were not searching because they expect to return to their job.

Unemployed people still able to rely on financial cushions

Among the unemployed — defined as jobless people actively searching for paid work — financial cushions were still a major reason they weren’t urgently looking for work. Around 26% of unemployed people who were not urgently looking said they had a financial cushion sufficient for some time, only slightly down from 30% in July. The household savings rate has jumped in the pandemic period, standing at 19.9% in the second quarter of 2021, its second-highest on record. 

Bar chart titled “Financial cushions and care responsibilities behind lack of urgency among unemployed.” With a horizontal axis ranging from 0% to 35%, Indeed compared the various reasons given among the non-urgent unemployed for not urgent job search with different coloured bars representing July and August 2021. As of August 17, 2021, 26% of unemployed people who are not urgently looking for work said they had a financial cushion sufficient for some time, only slightly down from 30% in July.

The young were searching more intently than the old

Among those searching for a job, respondents 18-24 seemed keener to find work than older age groups. Some 17% of those 18-24 looking for a job said they were searching urgently, a higher proportion than among older cohorts. A further 46% said they were actively looking but without urgency, again higher than among older groups. 

The most widely cited reason for searching urgently among already-employed people 18-24 was insufficiency of their existing hours. By contrast, every other age group said it was because their wage or salary was too small.  

Among those 18-24 not working, 32% said they weren’t searching urgently because they were new entrants to the job market, the most frequently reported reason. A further 21% said they wanted to relocate. 

Bar chart titled “UK job search by age group.” With a vertical axis ranging from 0% to 100%, Indeed compared the percent of the population searching for work in August 2021 along 18 to 24-year-olds, 25 to 34-year-olds, 35 to 44-year-olds, 45 to 54-year-olds, 55 to 64-year-olds, with different coloured sections of each age group bar representing “passively looking,” “actively looking, not urgently,” “actively looking, urgently.” As of August 17, 2021, 17% of 18 to 24-year-olds looking for a job said they were searching urgently, a higher proportion than among older cohorts.

People still want to wait for more job opportunities

When survey participants were asked when they would like to start a new job, 31% said when more job opportunities were available, similar to July’s 33%. Though vacancies are at a record high, people still feel current opportunities may not be ideal matches for their experience and interests, and that better options may yet arise. 

Among other frequent responses, 19% said they preferred to begin a new job after taking holiday or time off,  while 11% said when the new school year starts. 

Bar chart titled “People still want to wait until there are more opportunities.” With a horizontal axis ranging from 0% to 40%, Indeed compared when people would like to start a new job with different coloured bars representing July and August 2021. As of August 17, 2021, 31% of survey participants stated they would like to start a new job, 31% when more job opportunities were available.

People are interested in exploring new careers

Many respondents were open to switching fields. When asked where they want their next job to be, the most frequent answer, at 28%, was in a field related to their current one. Around 27% wanted a job in their current field, while 19% preferred something totally different from work they had done before. 

While there are always people considering changing careers, the pandemic has accelerated certain structural changes in the economy and prompted some to reflect on their career choices. The fact that a majority of respondents want their next job to be outside their current field presents an opportunity for employers to tap into new candidate pools. 

Bar chart titled “Many people are interested in changing fields.” With a horizontal axis ranging from 0% to 30%, Indeed compared the different fields of work people want their next job to be in, in August 2021. As of August 17, 2021, 27% of survey respondents want a job in their current field, while 19% want something totally different from any work they have done before.

Conclusion: lack of urgency poses challenges for those needing to hire

There was little sign of urgency in job search in the August Indeed Job Search Survey. The looming end of furlough and summer holidays may cause some uptick in search, though most people seem to feel they can still be picky over jobs. 

Employers struggling to hire might consider turning their attention to specific pockets of jobseekers. Some might want to focus on youth. Though the reopening of customer-facing service sectors has brought many more opportunities for the young, they still seem to be searching for work with greater earnestness than older age groups. 

Sector switchers could be another source of potential hires. A majority of respondents said they wanted their next job to be in a different field from their current one. Some employers may be able to bring in staff by selling the benefits of their company and sector, and offering training to those from other backgrounds.

Methodology

This blog post is based on an Indeed UK online survey conducted 9-17 August of 5,000 UK adults 18-64. Weights were applied to each survey to match respondent distributions across age, gender, region, education and ethnicity based on data from the Office for National Statistics. 

Unemployed workers are defined as those who are jobless and actively searching for paid work, either urgently or not urgently. Jobless respondents passively looking for work or not open to work are not included in the unemployed category, but are considered out of the labour force.