furlough statistics

Furlough Scheme Statistics 2020

The government’s new furlough scheme (officially named the “Job Retention Scheme”) has helped millions of employees around the UK to keep their jobs and continue to receive the majority of their wages during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the Job Retention Scheme, the government has provided a grant to pay 80% of the wages of those who’ve been furloughed. In this article we share the most recent furlough statistics, providing answers to questions such as ‘How many people have been furloughed?’, ‘Is the UK satisfied with the furlough scheme?’ and ‘Will more people be working from home from now on?’. 

How many people in the UK have been furloughed? 


This new government scheme is undoubtedly appealing to employers, particularly those who have been struggling during the pandemic. But just how many of them have taken the government up on their offer? And what percentage of workers have been furloughed?

  • As of 19th May 2020, 8 million jobs in the UK have been furloughed. 
  • To put that into context, there are currently around 33 million workers in the UK. This means that nearly a quarter of employees have been furloughed

That’s a significant chunk of the UK workforce. Many of whom would have been likely to lose their jobs if it wasn’t for the government’s new scheme. 

So what do people think of the furlough scheme? 

Receiving 80% of your wages whilst not having work sounds like a great opportunity.. right? Maybe for some. Although recent findings suggest that a lot of people in the UK are actually dissatisfied with the government’s furlough scheme. 

In order to find out what the UK public think of the furlough scheme, we conducted a poll of 1,023 UK adults. The findings revealed that: 

  • 63% of people in the UK do not think that the furlough scheme has been effective in helping people to retain their jobs. 
  • 1 in 5 believe that employers are in fact abusing the scheme.
  • And 1 in 10 think that the government should be paying more of the wages than they already are.
Furlough Scheme - Job. Retention Scheme Statistics Survey

We conducted this poll using Google Surveys on 15th May 2020. A representative sample of the UK population participated in the study, from a wide range of age groups and genders. 

Google searches on the topic of furlough

The chart below shows the search volume for ‘Furlough’ over the last 6 months in the UK. As you can see, searches for ‘Furlough’ peaked drastically at the end of March 2020 when the scheme was introduced. 

To find out how much interest there was in the Furlough scheme in the UK, we conducted a search analysis using the tool Keyword Finder. The findings revealed that:

  • Approximately 40,500 searches were made for ‘Furlough Scheme’ in March 2020. 

‘Laid off’ 

It also appears that lots of people were searching for terms on the topic of being laid off from work during this time. The chart below shows the search volume for searches containing “laid off” over the last 6 months in the UK. 

‘Lost my job’ 

A huge increase in the number of people searching for terms related to losing their jobs was also observed during the month of March. The average number of searches for ‘lost job’ in the UK over the past year is 1,800 a month. 

However, during March this year, almost four times as many searches were made for the term ‘lost job’ (6,600).

The chart below shows the peak in searches for this term during March 2020. 

‘Working from home jobs’ 

Interest in working from home has also increased massively over this period, with more searches being made for ‘work from home jobs’ than ever before. The graph below shows the average number of monthly searches for this term between 2004 and 2020. 

Around 110,000 searches were made in March 2020 for ‘work from home jobs’, compared with just 33,000 in March 2016. 

We hope these furlough statistics have provided you with a good insight into the UK population’s perception of the furlough scheme. And that the facts and figures presented in this article have been useful in providing you with a solid overview of furlough scheme statistics. 

To find out about other business funding opportunities during the Coronavirus pandemic, head over to our Business Funding page. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the opportunities available to small businesses and freelancers in the UK right now.

Notes on image reuse: Images we created for this article have been released under Creative Commons. You’ll find them here. You’re welcome to use images in that album with appropriate attribution.


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