Plunge in number of EU citizens seeking work in Britain

Research by job site has revealed that the number of Europeans seeking work in the UK has fallen substantially this year as uncertainty over the result of Brexit negotiations looms large.

Plunge in number of EU citizens seeking work in Britain
Uncertainty over the future of Brexit negotiations and what they could mean for EU citizens in the UK has led to a sharp fall in the number of Europeans seeking jobs in Britain this year, according to an analysis by job site Indeed.Data from the world's largest job site indicated an 18 per cent drop in the number of Europeans searching online for work in the UK since January. The decline is the sharpest since the referendum vote last June.

Strain on Britain's tight labour market

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, said, “As Article 50 looms, we are seeing a sharper and longer decline in interest in working in the UK than in previous ‘shock drops’ following last year’s referendum. As Brexit moves from rhetoric to reality, the strain on Britain’s strong but tight labour market will worsen.“For better or worse, a British labour market with fewer EU workers will be immediately confronted with a range of complex questions that will need to be resolved quickly to prevent major disruption.”The Indeed report, based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of job search patterns within EU15 countries in the first 11 weeks of 2017, compared to the last 11 weeks of 2016, said, “Given the UK economy's addiction to EU workers, such a sharp fall in the supply of European labour is a major warning light for British employers and the economy as a whole.”

Manufacturing and Hospitality sectors most affected

A separate analysis by Indeed of official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that, of one million jobs created in Britain since 2008, 44.3 per cent were filled by people born in another EU country.“The dependence is most acute in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors, which together account for a quarter (26 per cent) of all EU nationals employed in the UK,” said Indeed.

European jobseekers looking elsewhere

Mr Mamertino added, “Such heavy reliance on European talent could prove a serious liability if Brexit interrupts the flow of workers. With Europeans’ appetite for working in the UK already on the wane, if a non-EU Britain puts up legal barriers to EU workers coming here, or if the UK economy slumps in the wake of Brexit, European jobseekers won’t hesitate to look elsewhere.“UK unemployment is already at its lowest level in four decades, and with a shrinking pool of available talent, many employers face extreme competition when recruiting the people they need to grow.“Even with free access to EU workers, Britain’s labour market is stretched tight. If Brexit turns off the tap of European workers it could be stretched to breaking point. As Brexit negotiations begin in earnest with the triggering of Article 50, the stakes for Britain’s labour market – and the wider economy – couldn’t be higher.”
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The Indeed report on the fall in EU nationals seeking to work in the UK came on the heels of an analysis last week by the Resolution Foundation think-tank, which found that a net fall of 50,000 EU citizens currently working in the UK was mainly attributable to an exodus of high-skilled staff.Blaming the departures on the uncertainties caused by the referendum vote last June, the think-tank urged British firms to start planning now for a possible loss of skilled foreign workers when Brexit becomes a reality.For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre 

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