From education to employment

Decrease in EU Migrants adds pressure to skills gap

REC response to ONS Migration Statistics, November 2018

Today’s migration statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a continued fall in net EU migration, driven by a fall in EU citizens coming to the UK.

Commenting, Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley says:

“Today’s ONS figures confirm the decrease in the number of EU nationals coming to the UK looking for work, at a time when employers across a whole range of sectors are finding it increasingly hard to find the staff and skills they need.

REC data shows that candidate availability is declining month on month, and that 75% of employers have little or no capacity to take on more work without needing to hire more staff. These organisations will need more staff to grow and deliver better services. The shortage is acute across both the private and public sector – particularly in social care and the NHS where ensuring safe staffing levels is an absolute must.

“Our new report on public sector recruitment ‘Public Sector 2025’ shows that the public sector faces up to 7 more years of skills shortages based on current demand. This doesn’t even factor in the impact of post-Brexit immigration models.

“Ongoing uncertainty will do nothing to reverse the trend. UK employers need a comprehensive mobility and migration deal with the EU post-Brexit to ensure that private and public sector organisations can continue to secure the permanent, temporary and seasonal workers they need to be successful. Severely reducing the number of EU workers coming to the UK will make British firms less competitive and put increasing pressure on our public services.”

Net EU migration for the year ending June 2018 was +74,000 – the lowest estimate since 2012, and the lowest immigration level since 2014.

Immigration to the UK for all types of work increased between 2012 and the year ending June 2016 to a peak of 312,000, but has been lower since and is now 242,000. The decrease was largely accounted for by a fall in the number of EU citizens arriving looking for work, with 37,000 in the year ending June 2018, down from 82,000 at the peak two years earlier.

Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire. 

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