Will UK workers take on jobs formerly filled by EU migrants?

Latest reports suggest there will be a gap in UK employment left by EU migrants, as British workers remain unwilling or unable to take up the roles, as a result of economic insecurity and a lack of skills.

Canary Wharf: People travelling to work
Over half (54.6 per cent) of UK professionals aged 24 and under have said that they are not willing to take on work that EU migrants traditionally do in the UK, with a further 66.7 per cent of 18-24 year olds stating that this is because they want to earn a higher wage. That’s according to new research from the independent job board, CV-Library.

Businesses concern over of UK talent availability

The study combines the views of 1,400 UK workers and 250 UK employers and found that nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of businesses are concerned that there is not enough UK talent available to fill their jobs. What’s more, a further four in 10 (40.4 per cent) state that they hire EU workers because Britons don’t have the necessary skills for the jobs they’re recruiting for.In addition to this, 76.2 per cent of employers report that they have found younger workers are more reluctant to go for jobs traditionally taken on by EU migrants. However, the research suggests that professionals are currently wary about moving jobs in general, with four in 10 (39.9 per cent) stating that they feel nervous when the future of the economy is so uncertain. This figure rose to 55.6 per cent among non-UK workers.
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Further analysis* of job market activity reveals significant application declines in some of the industries hit hardest by Brexit.
  1. Agriculture – 6 per cent decline in applications year-on-year
  2. Catering – 16 per cent decline in applications year-on-year
  3. Electronics – 15 per cent decline in applications year-on-year
  4. Medicine – 6 per cent decline in applications year-on-year
  5. Engineering – 2 per cent decline in applications year-on-year
*Year-on-year comparison of total applications made in these industries via the CV-Library website during the periods: January – October 2016 and January – October 2017

Economic instability reducing worker mobility

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library said, “It’s clear from our findings that people simply aren’t taking risks on looking for new jobs when the economy is still in such a difficult place. This is placing many employers in a challenging position, especially with non-UK workers feeling particularly nervous in case the situation worsens.“But, put simply, there is not enough UK talent to plug the on-going skills gaps. While the government hopes to boost the pipeline through the likes of investment in apprenticeships, young people clearly are not opting to go for the jobs that EU candidates are no longer filling and this could cause real issues in the future.”

Brexit's affect on industries

The study also asked professionals whether Brexit had negatively affected their industry, with those working in agriculture feeling the most impacted (57.1 per cent). People working in the electronics (66.7 per cent), recruitment (50 per cent), and hospitality (37.5 per cent) sectors also felt they had been impacted, with a further 57.8 per cent of finance professionals stating that they felt they would be most affected in the future.Mr Biggins continued, “These industries, particularly the likes of food farming, were predicted to be some of the worst hit areas post-Brexit and it’s clear from our research that restrictions around access to labour is making a real impact. Creating a robust hiring strategy is of the utmost importance right now, especially if companies want to remain in strong standing as we continue to navigate through choppy waters.”For related news and features, visit our Brexit section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open in January. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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