Companies in the UK are suffering from “supply shock” as they struggle to fill vacancies and are forced to hike wages as Brexit approaches, new research has revealed.
Fewer EU citizens are heading to the country and the number of applicants per job vacancy has fallen since last summer across all levels of skilled jobs, says The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The number of people moving to the UK from other EU countries is at its lowest level since 2013, the latest figures reveal. The CIPD’s poll, which surveyed 2,000 employers, found that the number of workers applying for the average low-skilled vacancy has dropped from 24 to 20 in the past year and from 19 to 10 for medium-skilled posts.
As a result, companies are beginning to increase wages: half of organizations that reported recruitment problems said they had increased starting salaries.
“The most recent official data shows that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work in the UK over the past year,” Gerwyn Davies of the CIPD said in a Guardian report.
“This is feeding into increasing recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for employers in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and which are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to immigration policy for EU migrants.”
A government spokesman said that EU citizens make a huge contribution to the UK’s economy and added that the government had been “clear from the beginning of this process that we want these citizens and their families in the UK to be able to stay.”
“After we leave the EU, the UK will continue to be the open country it has always been,” the spokesperson told The Guardian. “We will have in place an immigration system that delivers control over who comes to the UK, but that welcomes the brightest and best who want to work hard and contribute.”
A recruiter at the Adecco Group, which helped with the research, added: “With Brexit looming we’re seeing a talent shortage and a more competitive marketplace. In this candidate-short landscape the pressure is on employers to not only offer an attractive salary, but also additional benefits.”