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Stevens Machi Solicitors

The latest immigration and visa law news, blogs and announcements from Stevens Machi.

Labour Shortages Linked to Falling EU Employee Numbers

UK sectors that traditionally employ a large number of EU nationals are starting to experience labour and skills shortages, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and The Adecco Group.

Supply of EU Nationals

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that existing vacancies in the UK now number 748,000, which is a near record high, but employers are apparently struggling to find the right candidates.

The report suggests that a fall in the supply of EU nationals may be one of the main causes of this shortage. ONS figures show that low-skilled sectors that typically employ a large number of non-UK nationals from the European Union are facing particular recruitment challenges, with vacancies in retail and wholesale, manufacturing, health and accommodation, and food services making up almost half (45%) of all vacancies.

The Labour Market Outlook found that that the most common response to labour shortages has been to leave the positions empty, reflecting the tightness of the domestic labour market and tentative signs that the UK is attracting and retaining fewer EU nationals. The report also shows that as many as one in four employers (27%) have seen evidence to suggest that non-UK nationals from the European Union were considering leaving their organisation and/or the UK in 2017.

According to the CIPD, these findings have been backed up by official data that suggests the growth in the number of non-UK EU nationals in employment in the UK has slowed sharply in recent months.

Drop in EU Labour

One area that could be seriously affected by a drop in EU labour is the public sector. Around 43% of education and 49% of healthcare sector employers surveyed in the Labour Market Outlook said they believed EU migrants among their workforce were considering leaving their organisation and/or the UK in 2017.

“The most recent official data suggest that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of non-UK nationals from the European Union in work in the UK,” commented Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser for the CIPD. “This is creating significant recruitment challenges in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and who are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to EU immigration policy.”

The report also asked employers that employ EU nationals how they would respond to migration restrictions. In response, employers said they would:

  • ‘pay the difference’ and absorb the extra cost of recruiting EU nationals (26%),
  • seek to retain older workers (19%),
  • invest more in training and up-skilling (17%),
  • recruit more apprentices (17%),
  • and look for UK-born graduates (16%).


The ‘Average’ UK Immigrant

In another interesting development, an organisation has used the results of a recent survey to develop what it says is a profile of the average migrant working in the UK, reports Business Insider.

InterNations, a network for people living and working abroad, looked at 14,300 people and produced average profiles based on common characteristics shared by people migrating to different countries.

In the UK, the typical migrant is apparently a woman in her late 30s from Europe, who is probably in a relationship. She is most likely to work in IT, and either secured a job before she arrived in the UK or was already employed overseas and has been posted to the UK to work by her employer.

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