It shouldn’t shock anyone that many SMEs worry about how Brexit will affect their businesses. Indeed, many worry about how the conscious uncoupling from the EU will impact their ability to recruit its workers. However, a new report shows this may be a particularly difficult problem for sectors relying on temporary workers.
Having surveyed 600 employers and HR decision makers, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the recruitment body, discovered 81% of bosses fill temporary or seasonal jobs with EU nationals. Moreover, 42% of employers struggle to fill temporary or seasonal vacancies. Further, the REC highlighted that while European nationals only make up 7% the population, they account for 14% of the UK’s workforce.
When the REC surveyed 233 UK recruiters, they said clients in some sectors were more difficult to satisfy than others. For instance, 39% said that it was difficult to find enough clients for companies in the food and drink sector. 38% of recruiters in the hospitality industry and 29% of those sourcing talent for the warehousing sector said the same. The recruiters also said that at least half of the temps in certain industries hail from the EU. For instance, this was the case for six out of ten in the warehousing sector, 56% for the food and drink industry as well as for 52% in hospitality sector.
Commenting on the findings, Neil Carberry, chief executive of REC, said: “Employers need the government to secure the transition period quickly including an agreement on mobility in the exit deal. Temporary and seasonal roles need to be part of this. The right to work must be attached to the individual coming to work, not dependent on sponsorship by an employer or the promise of a permanent contract.
“People who take on temporary and seasonal jobs are vital to our economy and help to keep work here that may otherwise be done elsewhere. Ignoring the potential for new jobs and UK competitiveness this creates would be blinkered.”
We can only hope the government take these industries’ concerns under advisement.