Xecutive Search have drawn attention to the fact that UK firms are being squeezed by the biggest labour shortage in 30 years. This is being driven by a combination of record employment, the impending Brexit vote, a weaker pound and the government’s pledge to cut EU immigration after Brexit.
A survey of more than 6,000 employers across the country by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that 81% of manufacturers struggled to hire the right staff in the final months of 2018.
With the UK currently experiencing record levels of employment, organisations are facing a shortage of skilled labour just as the effect of Brexit has led to a dramatic drop in the number of qualified workers coming from the EU.
In December, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid drew a sharp rebuke from business leaders after the government’s long-awaited White Paper on post-Brexit immigration pledged to cut those coming from the EU for work by 80%, while extending the minimum salary threshold to £30,000 a year.
At the same time, the weaker pound has also made it less attractive for foreign nationals to work in Britain.
Amid signs that the UK could be facing a full-blown labour crisis, Adam Marshall, the director general of the BCC, said: ‘Business concerns about the government’s recent blueprint for future immigration rules must be taken seriously – and companies must be able to access skills at all levels without heavy costs or bureaucracy.’