Worsening skills shortage as fewer EU workers coming

Skills and labout shortages are set to worsen many groups are warning
Skills and labout shortages are set to worsen many groups are warning

Firms are suffering from a “supply shock” of fewer EU nationals coming to the UK, according to new research.

There has been a huge fall over the past year in the number of EU-born workers in this country, which is one of the reasons behind the worsening shortage of skilled staff, said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Firms are reporting problems filling vacancies because of fewer and less suitable applicants, a survey of 2,000 employers found.

The number of applicants per vacancy has fallen since last summer across all levels of skilled jobs, said the CIPD.

The number of EU-born workers in the UK increased by 7,000 between the first quarter of 2017 and the same quarter this year compared with 148,000 between 2016 and 2017.

The number of applications for each low-skilled post has fallen from 25 to 20 in the past few years and from 19 to 10 for medium skilled posts.

Half of organisations having recruitment problems have increased salaries in response.

“The most recent official data shows that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work in the UK over the past year,” said Gerwyn Davies of the CIPD.

“This is feeding into increasing recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for employers in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and which are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to immigration policy for EU migrants.

“With skills and labour shortages set to worsen further against the backdrop of rising talk of a ‘no deal’ outcome with the EU, the need for the Government to issue consistent, categorical assurances about the status of current and future EU citizens, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, is more important now than ever.”