Concerns rise that Brexit is causing UK skills shortage
May 9, 2017

A report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has shown that the number of candidates available for jobs has hit a 16-month low, raising concerns that Brexit has triggered a skills shortage in multiple areas ranging from IT to nursing. Kevin Green, Chief Executive, said that the fall in the GB Pound after last year’s referendum and uncertainty over immigrants’ rights to work in the UK had made people reluctant to search for new career options. James McGrory, co-executive director of Open Britain, said the research showed the “serious impact Brexit-related uncertainty is having on our economy and the fears employers have that it could lead to skills shortages. Workers are unwilling to move to new jobs because they fear the damage a job-destroying, chaotic Brexit would have. Companies worry that draconian new immigration rules will make it harder for them to get the skilled labour they need, damaging both our economy and public services.” The research, based on a survey of 400 recruitment agencies by Markit, revealed that growth in permanent staff placements had slowed to its weakest pace for seven months. Mr. Green said: “If British business is to thrive, then whichever party forms a government after June 8 needs to address the ever-shrinking pool of suitable candidates by investing in skills and career advice for UK jobseekers, as well as safeguarding access to the workers we need from abroad.” The warning over skills shortages came as Matthew Taylor, head of the Royal Society of Arts, who is leading a government review of changing employment practices, indicated that British employers were guilty of creating too many poor-quality, low-paying jobs, undermining efforts to improve the nation’s weak productivity: “Over recent decades, government work policy has focused primarily on getting people into jobs with, as current record employment levels attest, considerable success. Yet persistent scandals of bad working conditions, poor legal safeguards and job insecurity suggest that bad work is all too common. We need, therefore, to talk about quality of work and not just quantity.”

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