Savills and CBRE furlough staff onto UK income support scheme

Global advisory firms Savills and CBRE are to furlough staff in the UK, in response to the impact the coronavirus crisis is having upon the property sector.

The companies become the latest in the real estate industry to lay off employees while lockdown measures are in effect, taking advantage of the British government’s scheme to pay up to 80% of the salaries of people not currently receiving their regular source of income.

A sharp decline in the number of transactions taking place is behind the decision, following the UK government's move late last month to effectively call a halt to the domestic property market by banning new listings and visits to for-sale homes.

Announcing the layoffs, a spokesperson for Savills said: ‘Savills is committed to protecting the wellbeing of its staff and their long-term employment during the Covid-19 global pandemic crisis.

‘Where applicable, the group will examine and avail itself of the support offered by governments and respective job retention initiatives.’

Elsewhere, CBRE has said its advisory team is to be furloughed, while members of the firm’s senior leadership team have seen their salaries cut.

A spokesperson said: ‘In light of the virus’s significant impact on business activity, we have made the decision to furlough a proportion of our UK workforce in the most directly affected parts of our UK advisory business.

‘Our participation in the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will help us to protect jobs while responding to the changing needs of our clients. In addition, our UK advisory senior leadership team has taken a meaningful compensation reduction.’

The move by Savills and CBRE follows other companies which are scaling back staff or cutting salaries amid the Covid-19 pandemic, including Collilers, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield and others.