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"The F Word"

By Sam Gray

Being on 'Furlough' is not something that we've experienced before - how many of us even knew the term at the beginning of 2020?

The latest data shows as of Wednesday 5th August that approximately 9.6 million jobs from 1.2 million different employers were furloughed due to the pandemic - which is a staggering amount! 

It is estimated that once the scheme comes to an end in October, the UK will have spent an estimated £80 billion on the scheme and will have to resort to levels of borrowing not seen since the Second World War! 

Promisingly, around 1/3 of employees have returned to their jobs in the hospitality industry in the first two weeks of July after pubs, cafes and restaurants were allowed to reopen - but overall 20% of the workforce in all industries are still relying on the scheme for income - including myself! 

It will not come as a surprise that the recruitment industry in the UK has been hit hard - in total companies have nearly made 156,000 redundancies so far due to the pandemic with a further 1.2 million estimated once the furlough scheme ends which means a huge reduction in jobs to be recruited and business's choosing to scale back rather than add head count. 

I have been on furlough for just over 4 months now and if I am being completely honest, it has been an emotional roller coaster.

I am still extremely lucky that the government & my company continue to help me financially during this unprecedented crisis (I don't know about you, but I am sick of hearing those words), however money isn't everything and keeping my mental state healthy has been a challenge. 

A mix of different emotions has gone through my mind - anxiety (will we come out of this? How will I fit back in?), fear (will I have a job at the end of this? When will I return to work?), relief (job security & my health above anything else), frustration (that my wedding was cancelled, that I can't help my colleagues still working, that my life has been put on hold), social alienation (not being able to see family & friends, watching my friends return to work from furlough and being left on the sidelines), guilt/shame (that I am continuing to earn a wage whilst I am not actively doing anything) & sadness - we all have days like this but I have felt this more & more over the past months. 

I know this may seem all a bit doom & gloom but I am always honest if nothing else. Most recently, though a big emotion I have felt is excitement. I am excited to get going again and see how the market has changed, excited to have some normality back in my life & most importantly excited to get married next year (hopefully) and move house (to make use of another excellent scheme the government has put in place with reduced stamp duty). 

I am a huge advocate of the need for people need to talk about their mental health, especially men - I haven't always been very forthcoming with how I feel - so if you know someone on furlough or someone who may have unfortunately been made redundant - drop in on them and see how they are doing. If it wasn't for my colleagues, family and friends I would have really struggled during this time. 

I can't wait to get back into the swing of things when the time comes and get my life back up and running again. 

Let's keep talking and be honest with each other - we are all in this together. 

I really hope this helps anyone out there who may feel like they are drowning -  I would love to hear your views in the comments or even message me directly I am always here for a chat. 

Keep safe everyone. Peace out! 

There’s no doubt about it, the coronavirus outbreak is hitting recruitment in the UK hard. Most recruitment agencies are having to fight against a huge reduction in roles, as well as dealing with hard to reach clients and delayed candidate start dates (and therefore delayed placement fees).

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