The worrying findings from the IFS published today that London has been badly hit in employment plus older workers being very affected


Today’s analysis of the labour market published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows how London has been hit hardest economically by the pandemic with the real risk of longer term unemployment and  in particular older workers being affected (see: Londoners face quadruple whammy of labour market challenges as furlough scheme ends – Institute For Fiscal Studies – IFS)

London workers are being hit hardest and are in the most precarious position as the furlough scheme comes to an end today. During the pandemic, Londoners have suffered from higher rates of redundancy, lower rates of re-employment after redundancy and lower growth in vacancies. And to make matters worse Londoners are more likely to be furloughed than the rest of the UK. The report’s bleak findings show:

·         Workers in London accounted for 16% of the redundancies made during COVID-19, compared with just 12% in the three years prior to the pandemic. Many of those already redundant will be competing for jobs with those made redundant when the furlough scheme ends today.

·         Only 44% of Londoners made redundant during COVID-19 had found new work within six months, compared with 58% of workers in the rest of the UK. 

  • Londoners accounted for 19% of those furloughed in July 2021, despite comprising only 14% of total employees and  appear especially vulnerable to redundancy once the furlough scheme winds down.
  • Vacancies in London only grew by 8% between mid-September 2019 and mid-September 2021, compared with a UK-wide average of 24%. 

But most worryingly the report shows in the UK that older workers, particularly those over the age of 60, also face major difficulties.

  • 7% of workers of over 60s  were furloughed in July 2021: the highest rate of any age category. This is a change from last summer, when it was younger workers most likely to be furloughed.
  • Only 35% of workers aged 50 and older found work six months after being made redundant during the pandemic, compared with 64% of workers aged 18–49. While older workers generally have a harder time finding employment after redundancy, this discrepancy is much larger than it was during the three years before COVID.
  • 58% of employees aged 60 or over who were made redundant during the pandemic were neither in, nor searching for, paid work six months later, compared with just 38% in the three years prior. It appears that increased numbers of older workers are just exiting the labour force altogether.

This research points to the need for urgent action by London’s’ policy makers in tackling this growing problem to help older workers. The risks are having an age group that may never work again.

Tim Whitaker, Trustee Wise Age