With the right to work uncertain after the Brexit vote, many non-UK nationals are returning home or seeking jobs elsewhere

UK employers are increasingly struggling to fill jobs in shops, factories and hospitals according to a new report that suggests the shortfall may be down to fewer EU migrants seeking work in the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Company bosses are reporting labour and skills shortages throughout the food supply chain as well as in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and The Adecco Group, which polls more than 1,000 employers.

One in four also had evidence that the EU nationals they employed were considering either leaving their organisation or the UK in 2017.

Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at CIPD, which represents human resources professionals, pointed to official data which showed that the growth in the number of non-UK EU nationals in employment had slowed in recent months.

At the end of last year industry groups representing the major supermarkets and food manufacturers warned that EU workers provided “an essential reservoir of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour” and without them food prices would rise.

The open letter to the government was signed by 30 food and drink industry bodies, including the Food and Drink Federation, which represents major suppliers, including Marmite maker Unilever and Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods; the British Retail Consortium, which counts Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons among its members, and the National Farmers Union. Employment agencies have warned that the UK’s food industry is facing the worst labour shortage for at least 12 years.

“Until the terms of Brexit are known and put in motion, the jobs market will remain cautious,” added Enver.

 

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