Furlough scheme analysed: More women than men covered

Furlough scheme analysed: More women than men covered
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 6th May 2021

Businesses have furloughed more female than male employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), new government data has revealed.

The statistics showed there were 2.37m women on furlough at 28 February, with provisional figures showing it had fallen to 2.12m by 31 March. In contrast, there were 2.17m men on furlough on 28 February and 1.95m on 31 March.

By age, the 18-24 range had the highest number of furloughed employees with females the majority.

Employments on furlough at 31 March 2021 (provisional), by age and gender of employee:

furlough scheme statistics

Across all businesses, 41% of employers had staff on furlough on 28 February. This decreased to 39% by 31 March with the data showing that all sectors saw a reduction in levels of furlough between February and March.

With accommodation and food services businesses among those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the industry had the highest take-up rate at 28 February with 70% of eligible firms putting staff on furlough. Breaking the sector down further showed beverage serving businesses had a take-up rate of 92%.

When looking at the total number of staff on furlough, restaurants and mobile food businesses had the highest amount of 28 February with 447,000. There were 410,000 at 31 March.

Employments on furlough by sector as at 28 February 2021:

furlough scheme data

When it comes to the proportion of eligible businesses who used the scheme, it was most popular with companies employing between two and four staff. In contrast, employers with 250 or more employees had the lowest take-up rate 8% of workers on furlough. The average for all firms was 14%.

Limited company directors who pay themselves a salary as the sole employee can use the scheme. The data showed 181,600 of those were furloughed on 31 March, claiming £714m.

Total employments on furlough (millions) by employer size (number of employees), 23 March 2020 to 31 March 2021:

furlough scheme statistics

CJRS claims by employer size as at 31 March 2021 (provisional):

furlough scheme

The 10 local authorities with the highest take up rates were Eden and South Lakeland in Cumbria, Scarborough, Isle of Wight, Crawley and the London authorities of Brent, Ealing Haringey, Hounslow and Newham. The Shetland Islands and Orkney Islands had the lowest take-up rates at 8%.

With 62,000, Birmingham was the location with the highest number of furloughed workers, a take-up rate of 15%.

Employments on furlough as a proportion of eligible employments at 31 March 2021 (provisional), by local authority:

furlough scheme data

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to end in September. More details here.

The latest coronavirus small business support and help

We're keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access all of the government's coronavirus small business support here. You can also find details and ask a question in the live chat on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus small business support hub.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences accessing the government's coronavirus business support, connect with Dan on Enterprise Nation.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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