UK would face ‘critical’ talent shortage in face of Brexit

KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 17: In this photo illustration, the European Union and the Union flag sit together on bunting on March 17, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom will hold a referendum on June 23, 2016 to decide whether or not to remain a member of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries which allows members to trade together in a single market and free movement across its borders for citizens. (Photo by illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A multinational human resources group claims the UK could be left ‘critically short’ of workers should the UK Brexit vote win the EU referendum next week.

According to the group the end of free movement, which would be one result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, would leave Britain ‘less able to compete on the world stage’.

James Hick, ManpowerGroup Solutions managing director: “Employment in the UK is at an all-time high, but British businesses continue to create more jobs. Britain added 404,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone, and despite the uncertainties of Brexit, employers tell us they still need more workers. Make no mistake about the vital contribution EU workers make to Britain.”


But while demand for talent is up, Brexit uncertainty has led to the group’s Net Employment Outlook falling for a second, successive quarter to +5% as businesses hold off taking on new staff. The survey is based on the responses of 2,110 UK employers.

Employment prospects in retail, wholesale and hospitality look less positive than the average figure, as the Outlook dropped four points to +3%, its weakest level since Q1 2014.

“Hiring intentions have dropped sharply in retail and leisure,” Hick added. “We have already seen how employers have looked to level off wages in response to the National Living Wage. Now, after three months, we’ve seen the biggest fall in hiring intentions in the retail sector for five years. Retailers are facing a triple-whammy of issues, with rising wage bills compounded by falling prices due to competition from online shopping and security concerns in Europe deterring visitors from abroad.”


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