Furloughed workers reveal desired shift in working lives

  • A third are going to ask employer for a pay rise once furlough ends 
  • 43% are going to ask employer for a phased return to work
  • 46% are worried they won’t have a job to go back to when the scheme ends

Despite nearly six in 10 (57%) furloughed workers looking forward to returning to their old jobs at the end of this month, research from Canada Life1 reveals how these employees want major shifts to their working lives once the scheme draws to a close.

In particular, furloughed workers are seeking more from their employers. A third (33%) say they are going to ask their employer for a pay rise once furlough ends and 43% are going to ask their employer for a phased return to work. Some are also looking to change their working patterns. Just under half (49%) say that while they were working full time before going on furlough, they would now prefer to work part-time.

Furloughed workers are divided about their future prospects. More than half (51%) are optimistic about the future, however, half also say they are worried that their hours will be reduced when they do return to work and 46% say they are worried they won’t have a job to go back to when the scheme ends in September.

The findings also reveal that time on furlough has made some employees rethink their careers entirely, with 45% hoping to get a new job once furlough ends, while two in five (41%) would like to change careers.

Dan Crook, protection sales director, Canada Life Insurance, comments:

“The pandemic has clearly prompted many of us to reflect on our day-to-day lives, hopes and ambitions, and this is no different when it comes to our working patterns. While some furloughed workers are looking for more support from their employer, whether that be financial or flexible working, others are rethinking their careers entirely.

“The end of this scheme presents a unique situation for both employers and their staff and there is no blueprint of what a successful return to work looks like. As employers look to welcome staff back from furlough, whether that be in the workplace or virtually, the varied perspectives of employees must be carefully considered. Ultimately employers must work collaboratively with their workforce to listen to their concerns and wishes while still focusing on the best business outcomes and ensuring flexibility.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Source: Research among 500 UK adults on furlough at the time of completion, including 107 aged 55+ between 20th August - 6th September 2021.