Key points

  • The October 2021 Indeed Job Search Survey for the UK found little change in search urgency after the furlough scheme finished at the end of September. 
  • That suggests employers are unlikely to see a material easing of hiring challenges as a result of the scheme’s closure. 
  • Health concerns and ability to get by financially still dampening urgent job search among the unemployed. 

There was barely any noticeable uptick in urgent job search in October following the closure of the furlough scheme at the end of September. That supports the view that there is likely to be limited fallout for the labour market in the wake of the support scheme’s withdrawal. 

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

The ONS estimates that 87% of those still on the scheme returned to work after the scheme closed. Figures show around 1.1 million people were still furloughed in its final month, with around half of those on flexible furlough (thus working some of their hours). If the ONS estimates are correct, that suggests up to around 150,000 people didn’t return to the same firm. Given that some of those may have moved jobs or exited the labour force, the impact on unemployment appears likely to be small. 

Urgency to find work barely increased

Just 7.7% of respondents said they were urgently looking for a job in October, up from 7.0% in September (a statistically insignificant rise). Another 17.9% said they were searching without urgency, while 25.9% were passively searching (both little-changed from September). 

Bar chart titled “Few people urgently looking for a job.”
Bar chart titled “Few people urgently looking for a job.” 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, August, September and October 2021. As of October 2021, 7.7% of respondents said they were urgently looking for a job, while 17.9% said they were searching without urgency and 25.9% were passively searching. 

Hiring doesn’t look set to get easier any time soon

The apparent limited labour market impact from the end of furlough is of course good news, not least for those workers affected. However, any employers who were hoping that the end of furlough would materially ease current hiring challenges seem set to be disappointed. 


This blog post is based on an Indeed UK online survey conducted 11-19 October 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.