The UK jobs market is performing incredibly strongly, with the highest employment rate on record and demand for staff continuing to increase as employers create more jobs. In the sectors most reliant on EU workers, recruiting to meet this demand is a huge challenge.

The number of EU nationals applying for roles in the UK is falling substantially as fewer decide to make the move here and many decide to leave. The government approach to immigration is set to change as part of Brexit negotiations and their attempt to lower net annual migration to the tens of thousands. There is real uncertainty amongst employers about who will perform the roles that are currently filled by EU citizens.

The REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) conducted research into this topic, which HEADS have been able to review and summarise below for you:

  • EU Workers currently make up 7% (2.2 million) of the UK workforce overall. This rises to 15% in low-skilled roles and includes 33% of workers in food manufacturing and 18% in warehousing and transport activities.
  • Net migration of EU nationals to the UK is falling – ONS figures for year ending March 2017 show a statistically significant fall in net migration from the EU (down 51,000 from the previous year).
  • There are 6 main reasons why EU Nationals migrate to work in the UK; · Recommendations/Connections with friends and family · Pay compared with EU countries · Job opportunities · Workplace culture and conditions · Wider British culture · Family Ties
  • The falling value of the pound and Brexit is having a negative impact upon these 6 points. This is making it more difficult for employers/recruiters to recruit EU labour.
  • Recruiters/Employers are facing significant challenges attracting UK workers into low skilled roles due to low pay rates, certain sectors being viewed undesirable to work and very low unemployment rates.
  • The research recommends the following for employers who are recruiting: · Focus on candidate experience for applicants who are less confident in applying for roles · Re-assess what level of prior experience is essential or desirable for a given role · Consider whether different working patterns/shifts are suitable for the roles · Make clear in job adverts any realistic routes for progression · Take guidance from recruiters on realistic expectations and recruitment strategies · Take measures to better improve workplace culture and working relations.

The team at HEADS have worked to develop several strategies and processes to combat the challenges Brexit will cause in 2018. If you would like to discuss this with us further then please email: info@proman-recruitment.co.uk.