Companies cautioned to start planning urgently for post-Brexit shortages, due to fact that migrant numbers down by 4.5 % in a year (107,000 people) – July to September 2018 in comparison to the same period in 2017.
This is the sharpest annual decline since 1997, when records began.
Organisations strengthening their recruitment of UK-based staff and retention strategies as negative Brexit-related sentiment is attributed by economists. The figures arrive at a critical juncture, with the cabinet today given access to the details of an initial transitional deal agreed between the UK and EU, which will in turn be put before the UK and European parliaments.
Decrease in numbers of EU migrant workers showed Britain’s labour market was changing ahead of the country’s exit from the EU.
Stephen Clarke (senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation) cautioned – “Firms who employ a large share of migrant workers need to think now about adjusting to a lower migration environment, in terms of the workers they employ, what they produce and how they operate.”
In opinion of Tom Hadley, director of policy for the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) “signs that skills shortages will further intensify, as EU workers no longer find UK an attractive place to work”.
“New hiring strategies are required to be implemented by UK businesses to innovate their approach – particularly with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups,” – Hadley said.
Employers will find vacancies harder to fill due to decline in migrants coming to the UK since the referendum.
More than two in five (44 per cent) employers reported it had become “more difficult” to fill vacancies in their companies over the past 12 months. And seven in 10 said some of their vacancies were proving hard to fill.
More sophisticated HR and management practices (such as high-performance working) need to be adopted and encouraged by line managers due to rising skills and labour shortages.
The ONS data also showed an increase in the overall number of people in work in the UK. There were 32.4m people working from July to September, 23,000 more than in April to June. This was up 350,000 on the same period in 2017.
While employment rates increased, the number of self-employed workers fell by 17,000 between July and September, to 4.75m.
The ONS also reported on Tuesday that regular wage growth picked up in September by the fastest rate in almost a decade. Compared with a year earlier, wages rose 3.2 per cent – the largest increase since the end of 2008.
Resolution Foundation cautioned real average pay in Britain may return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2024.
The think tank reported that wages in many parts of the UK remain below their 2008 peak. London had the biggest gap (-6.8 per cent) with the East Midlands (-5.6 per cent) and Northern Ireland (-4.7 per cent) close behind.