A report issued today by Centre for Cities has cited the top ten UK cities which are most likely to see labour shortages, ahead of tomorrow’s release of the Government’s No Deal Brexit plans.
Each of the cities mentioned, including Northampton and Slough, are heavily reliant on migrants to fill the low skilled, industrial roles. EU migrants are more likely to be in work than UK-born residents of these cities (70% compared to 58%), according to the report. These cities are therefore more vulnerable to tougher immigration rules should a No Deal Brexit take place.
The report has called for an extension on freedom of movement rights for at least two years after March 2019 and we couldn’t agree more.
With offices based both in Northampton and Slough, Encore is already starting to see the stark reality of Brexit sink in. For instance, in Slough last year, 84% of its agency workers were EU nationals. Today, EU workers account for 78% of the Slough workforce – a drop of 6% in just 12 months – and the trend looks set to continue.
Industrial, warehouse and distribution and hospitality sectors are some of the biggest employers in these areas, making up a large proportion of our client base and employing mostly skilled and unskilled EU workers. However, with a No Deal plan on the horizon, businesses are bracing for a reduced workforce instead.
Karen Haywood (pictured), operations manager at Encore Personnel, said, “Businesses also need to invest wisely now before it is too late. New systems and approaches have to be implemented, including business models which account for stronger competition for skilled candidates, incorporating measures such as increased payment rates and bonuses. Revised targets may also have to be considered, to ensure the business is able to achieve a reasonable and realistic output during this uncertain time.
“A short time-frame of less than a year will no doubt be detrimental and make if difficult for businesses to achieve all this, but a two-year extension will at least provide some leeway for these cities and their companies to adjust and prosper.”