Brexit has made more than a thousand companies less confident about the future, new survey finds

The report published by insurance company Zurich, shows that the proportion of businesses that see opportunities to grow their workforce is now just 14 per cent, which is the lowest since April 2013

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Small- and medium-sized companies are more pessimistic about their opportunities to expand than they have been at any point over the last four years, largely as a result of Brexit, according to a new survey.

The report published by insurance company Zurich, shows that the proportion of businesses that see opportunities to grow their workforce is now just 14 per cent, which is the lowest since April 2013.

According to the survey of over a thousand small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, more than a quarter are most concerned about the availability of skilled workers after Brexit.

“While SMEs are reporting no major concerns about the current business environment, when it comes to the workforce, small and medium business owners are fearing the worst,” says Paul Tombs, head of SMEs at Zurich.

“Since Brexit, the number of businesses seeing the opportunity to expand their workforce is worrying low, because there are no guarantees about the future availability of skilled labour,” he adds.

Since April 2016, or two months before the Brexit vote, companies said that opportunities to expand have plummeted in all but three sectors, namely construction, legal, and transport and distribution.

The most dramatic drop was in finance and accounting, where opportunities in the workforce were perceived to have fallen by more than half.

Manufacturing followed closely behind, with a 48 per cent drop and opportunities in the IT and telecoms sector fell 45 per cent.

“Businesses with smaller workforces are extremely susceptible to staffing and skills shortages, and a lack of clarity around work permits and movement of workers after Brexit is doing nothing to assuage these fears,” Mr Tombs said.

“There is a crisis looming in the UK, as employers gear up for a scramble to get and keep any skilled workers they can lay their hands on.”  

Comments