Articles by Smart Recruit Online

Eight Out of Ten UK Manufacturers Affected by Worker Shortages


Extracts from an article originally published in The Recruiting times

Post-Brexit, the UK Government is looking to reduce immigration from the EU by as much as 80% and around the same percentage of manufacturers are already reporting a shortage in labour. With an ageing population and high employment meaning competition for talent is high. UK manufacturers potentially stand to be hit hard by the proposed post-Brexit immigration policy.

The UK has seen the number of manufacturing jobs fall by 17% since 2006, according to estimates based on data from the Office of National Statistics. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was largely blamed for this trend, and it was thought for some time that automation would see that figure increase even more, as the industry hosts many repetitive roles that could be automated.

However, the human touch is now seen to remain an essential asset to the industry. Instead, AI should be wielded to improve the performance of the human workforce, rather than replace it. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found that over four-fifths of manufacturers struggled to hire the right staff in the final months of 2018.

In a survey of 6,000 employers across the country, the organisation found 81% of manufacturers and 70% of service sector firms reported difficulties with recruiting staff with the right qualifications and experience. This means British manufacturers currently face the largest shortage of skilled workers since 1989, with UK employment at a high, and fewer EU27 nationals arriving in the UK to work since the Brexit vote.

Commenting on this data, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said “the government should listen more closely to business when it came to drawing up its migration policies”. He explained, “Business concerns about the government’s recent blueprint for future immigration rules must be taken seriously – and companies must be able to access skills at all levels without heavy costs or political red tape.”

Mark Stephens, CEO, at Smart Recruit Online added to the debate, saying “A sweeping migration policy will certainly risk short term damage across a number of industry sectors that are currently represented significantly with a high number of EU nationals within their workforce. We are already seeing an increase of between 25% and 100% more job adverts being posted from within sectors that traditionally met their recruitment quotas through direct referrals amongst EU workers coming to the UK.

What we need to see implemented post Brexit, is a sensible process, where businesses struggling to find staff within the UK can quickly and easily start looking outside at foreign nationals, without too much bureaucracy”.

Article originally published on Recruiting times


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