Brexit risks leaving economy ‘critically short’ of workers

Filling construction jobs would be particularly hard after a vote for Brexit, according to recruitment company Manpower, The Telegraph has reported.

Peter Spence, The Telegraph’s economics correspondent, writes:

Fears that a Brexit vote could result in a clamp down on migration, both from the EU, and from countries outside of it, have already begun to weigh on the hiring plans of major employers, Manpower said, with construction and healthcare most likely to be adversely affected.

The US-headquartered company said that the possible end of free movement that Brexit could entail would “make Britain less able to compete on the world stage”.
James Hick, the managing director of Manpower solutions, said that the threat of tighter migration rules risked putting the flexibility of the UK labour market in jeopardy, as organisations find it increasingly difficult to plan for the future.

Manpower’s latest quarterly survey, based on response from over 2,000 employers, revealed that firms had become increasingly pessimistic, as the margin between those expecting to take on new staff and those anticipating a reduction in headcount narrowing for a second straight quarter.

“Employment in the UK is at an all-time high,” Mr Hick said, as “British businesses continue to create more jobs”. However, a withdrawal from the EU could put an end to the UK’s jobs creating run, he suggested.

Manpower warned that a Brexit vote would be “particularly damaging” for the construction sector, which is reliant upon European workers to plug skill gaps among British natives. “Talent is in short supply and wages are rapidly rising,” Mr Hick said.
If the UK votes to remain within the EU, Mr Hick predicted that employers’ confidence “would return to normality”, as there are still a large number of job vacancies in the economy that are presently unfilled.


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