Nearly three in 10 employers say that EU nationals working in the UK are considering leaving their organisation following the vote for Brexit, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook survey by CIPD and Adecco Group.
The report shows that demand for labour across the UK remains well above historical average levels.
EU nationals in employment has slowed sharply over the recent past with some 29% of employers saying they have evidence that shows EU nationals are looking to leave their organisation and/or the UK as a result of the vote in 2016, and a similar proportion (27%) say that EU nationals are considering leaving their organisation and/or the UK in 2017.
Vacancies are concentrated in low-skilled sectors such as wholesale and retail, accommodation and food services along with human health and social work, all of which employ a large number of EU nationals.
Between September 2015 and September 2016 the number of non-UK nationals from the EU working in the UK increased by 221,000 to 2.26 million, however the quarterly figures show an increase of just 30,000.
In addition, nearly three in 10 employers believe that non-UK nationals from the European Union are considering leaving their organisation in the six months to December 2016.
This implies that employers’ increased difficulty with finding suitable candidates may have been concentrated in some services sub-sectors and may worsen in the years ahead, resulting in further skills and labour shortages across the UK.
This report suggests that the challenge facing employers in holding on to their staff has already begun, despite the fact that there is no immediate prospect of changes to government policy.
In addition, it also seems that employers are keen to divert more effort towards recruiting more younger and older workers to offset the labour shortage problem rather than increase pay.
The report states: “Overall, there is therefore some uncertainty about whether employers can offset the implied risk of a fall in the supply of EU nationals in the year ahead with a greater focus on recruiting UK nationals, without raising pay, against the backdrop of a strong demand for labour.”