Social distancing, PPE, quarantine and furlough are just some of the many phrases we've heard since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we're sure you are aware, the job retention and furlough scheme was introduced at the start of the lockdown period by the UK government, allowing employees to take a temporary leave of absence whilst their business adapts to lockdown life.

According to national statistics, as of June 2020 there are approximately 9.1 million employees, from 1.1 million different employers, furloughed in the UK.* As so many of you are currently in this position, we wanted to get your thoughts on the initiative and discover how it's impacted you.

Naturally, most employees' biggest fear when it comes to work is being laid off, so we wanted to discover if this is apparent in those of you currently furloughed. We surveyed over 2,500 professionals currently on furlough and found that the majority (75%) are concerned about being made redundant when the scheme ends.

The results also uncovered that two thirds (67%) of employees feel there's been a lack of communication from their employer during this period, with a further sixth (15%) stating the business they work for has already made other furloughed employees redundant.

In addition to this, we delved into our survey findings to discover which job sectors people are most concerned about losing their jobs.

The top 10 industries where staff feel the least amount of job security

Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

The top 10 industries where staff feel the least amount of job security are:

  1. Hospitality - 42%
  2. Travel/Tourism - 37%
  3. Sales - 31%
  4. Health and Beauty - 29%
  5. Marketing - 28%
  6. IT - 21%
  7. Sports and Fitness - 18%
  8. Human Resources - 13%
  9. Arts and Entertainment - 7%
  10. Retail - 4%

When we asked the furloughed participants why they are worried about their job security, nearly a third (31%) of the professionals stated they don't feel they are an integral part of the company, with one in ten (11%) selecting the business they work for could close permanently as a result of the pandemic.

In order to compare this to 'normal', pre-Covid life we asked the participants whether they feel more, less or the same level of job security than before 2020. Unsurprisingly two thirds (67%) confirmed their job security worries have risen in 2020, with 16% sharing that they are less worried about their job security than previous years.

Looking into our findings further, we asked which job sectors actually feel more secure in 2020. and found that key and essential workers were the most common amongst those currently confident in the security of their professional position, as medical staff, police, security and supermarket staff rank highest.

Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy, said,

"Furlough is a word none of us had ever heard before this year, however it's now common to hear the term daily as businesses across the country tackle the effects of Covid-19. While at OnBuy we're in a fortunate position that we've got no furloughed staff and there's no risk of redundancy, we know that's not the case for many businesses in the UK. The government job retention scheme is a great initiative allowing employers to pause or adjust their business, whilst not making their employees redundant in the meantime.

"As the pandemic continues to affect businesses there is a lot of uncertainty on whether all staff furloughed will return to work as normal once the period is over. It was shocking and saddening to hear that so many professionals are currently worried about the security of their employment, and I hope lots of people start to return to work and receive some reassurance on their situation, as we start to move out of lockdown and back to normality."