Manufacturers voice growing fears over accessing skills

Manufacturers in the UK have been begun implementing measures to stem the number of skilled workers leaving the UK post-Brexit.

Manufacturing skills in the UK
Almost half of the UK’s manufacturing companies remain concerned about their ability to access overseas skills once the nation has left the European Union, according to a new report.

Manufacturers increasingly concerned by access to EU workers

Compiled by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and Squire Patton Boggs, the survey found that, while the drop in job applications from EU nationals had eased in the past year, 17 per cent of businesses were still seeing a fall in these applications with another 13 per cent reporting a rise in the number of EU workers leaving their businesses.Among the latter category, the report, ‘Navigating Brexit: The Migration Minefield’, companies said they were struggling to recruit suitably skilled staff within the UK. It called on the government to move swiftly to give businesses and their employees “increased clarity over the future of EU citizens working in the UK to stem the outward flow”.
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Manufacturers take steps to maintain workforce

The report said that, in an attempt to stem the growing problem of a skills shortage, manufacturers were taking steps to hold on to older workers with specialist skills, while 47 per cent were increasing training for existing staff and 37 per cent increasing apprenticeship and/or graduate recruitment programmes.A fifth of firms were also improving pay and benefits packages in order to attract and retain staff while 21 per cent of companies were accelerating plans for automation.Tim Thomas, director of skills and employment policy at EEF, said, “Skills shortages are endemic in manufacturing and engineering, and companies are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to access the skills they need post-Brexit.“While the slump in job applications from the EU has slowed, there is still much to be done to make sure UK businesses are still able to attract the very best talent from Europe over the coming months as we proceed towards our exit from the EU as well as retaining that talent after Britain leaves the EU.”Karen French, partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Leeds, added, “The UK government should indicate now that a light-touch post-Brexit immigration policy for EU citizens will be introduced and without mirroring the cost and complexity associated with the Points-Based System for non-EU workers.“With less than two years to go before the end of the proposed transition period and the possibility that a new immigration system may take at least another year to be decided on, let alone implemented, it is difficult for manufacturers who rely on EU workers of all skill levels to make meaningful contingency plans.”For related news and features, visit our Residential Property section.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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