We’re in job ‘cuffing season’ right now – but it’s not what you might think

Written by Amy Beecham

It turns out that ‘cuffing’ isn’t just a dating phenomenon. But what does it really mean for workers in the midst of a cost of living crisis?

What do our jobs and dating lives have in common? Not much, you might assume, but dating phenomena like ghosting, breadcrumbing and now cuffing have slowly become part of our workplace vocabulary.

In the dating world, the cold chill and start of autumn signals the beginning of the ‘cuffing season’, a time to handcuff yourself to a potential partner to see you through the hard winter months ahead. Then, come spring, it’s time to decide whether to commit or to leave the relationship for a summer of single fun.

And while dating apps have seen a 60% surge in new sign-ups over the past two weeks as we shift into hunker-down mode, so have job sites.

“Job hunters across the UK also look to cuff for the winter and settle down quickly into a new role before looking for different opportunities in the spring,” explains Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor.

According to its data, the number of job searches on Glassdoor are up 12.6% from August as employees test the waters for new opportunities. However, this ‘drafting’ season won’t last forever. 

As Cotton suggests, frantic job searching activity will sharply decline as we move into the deep winter, dropping 28.6% between October and December once the majority find themselves ‘cuffed’.

Then, following the new year, Glassdoor has predicted another frenzy of activity that is likely to peak around February, with job searches predicted to increase by 37.4%.  

With post-pandemic trends like ‘quiet quitting’ and The Great Resignation, we know that plenty of people have been evaluating their lives, what they want and the role their work plays in that. A study by insurance provider Aviva found last month that 41% of surveyed employees favour work-life balance over salary benefits in 2022.

But there’s likely a secondary reason behind the upcoming job frenzy too: the continuing cost of living crisis.

We all know how hard this winter (and beyond) is likely to be, with rocketing energy bills and a looming recession. A poll by high street lender Metro Bank suggested that two-thirds of British consumers have financial worries, with six in 10 people suffering from mental health issues due to the cost of living crisis.

Women are also more likely than men to be having sleepless nights over their finances right now, with wealth managers Charles Stanley suggesting that nearly seven in 10 women now say that rising living costs are what they worry about most.

Even for those with ‘steady’ employment, it’s a scary time, so it’s no wonder that droves of workers are trying to secure new roles before the financial pressures of winter and Christmas kick in further. But in times of crisis, many simply don’t have the privilege to hold out for their dream job and, instead, find themselves accepting lower pay or unsociable hours in order to secure a role.

So while cuffing may feel like another fun buzzword, it’s important to remember that there’s a very real and scary alternative when navigating the challenging times ahead.

Speak to a Financial Conduct Authority registered financial adviser before taking financial advice, and think carefully before making any decision.

If you’re concerned about debt, please get in touch with Step Change. If you’re worried about your mental health, you can contact Mind or Samaritans. 

Images: Getty

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