Firms face Brexit skills shortage, forcing up wages in some sectors

Number of applicants per job opportunity has fallen at all skill levels, research finds

Ben Chapman
Monday 13 August 2018 11:33 BST
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There are skills shortages in a number of sectors which currently rely on non-UK labour, including IT, transport and construction, according to the CIPD
There are skills shortages in a number of sectors which currently rely on non-UK labour, including IT, transport and construction, according to the CIPD

Many UK firms are finding it more difficult to recruit the staff they need after a fall in net migration from the EU, a new report has said.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said 40 per cent of employers had more problems filling vacancies than they did last year. This has led to a boost in wages for those in certain jobs, the report noted.

After reaching record levels in 2014 and 2015, net migration has fallen, largely thanks to more people leaving the UK, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

The number of EU-born workers in the UK increased by 7,000 from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018, compared with an increase of 148,000 from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017.

This has worsened skills shortages in a number of sectors which currently rely on non-UK labour, including IT, transport and construction, according to the CIPD.

Other sectors such as health, social care and hospitality have also warned of problems recruiting.

As net migration from the EU has fallen the number of applications for low-skilled jobs has dropped from 24 last summer to 20 now, the survey of 2,000 firms found. The number of applicants per vacancy has also fallen for medium and high-skilled jobs.

Wage growth has remained stubbornly slow in the UK, despite record-low unemployment which normally forces businesses to raise salaries.

The CIPD’s research found that more than half of employers who had found it harder to recruit have boosted salaries to attract the right staff.

Alex Fleming, president of staffing at Adecco, which co-authored the study, said: “With Brexit looming we’re seeing a talent shortage and a more competitive marketplace.

“In this candidate-short landscape the pressure is on employers to not only offer an attractive salary, but also additional benefits.”

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