By: Valerie Johnston
In the wake of Brexit, many have claimed that specific labour sectors in the UK will face serious consequences due to a lack of immigration. Sectors such as wholesale, retail, hospitality, health, and public administration have all been mentioned as areas where immigrant workers make up a significant portion of the labour force. Statistics show that as many as one in nine UK workers are not born in the UK, and this number covers everything from office cleaning staff to surgeons at top hospitals.
British Chancellor Philip Hammond warned that even after Brexit, the UK would have to work hard to continually attract skilled workers, or these areas would suffer. However, he also mentioned a need for nurturing these skills in British citizens as well. Taking a closer look at specific industries shows that this may not be enough to fill the gap that could be left after Brexit. For example, hotels and restaurants employ more than half a million workers from the EU every year, and over 380,000 EU workers are part of the British financial and business sectors.
Many of these workers take jobs and hours that British citizens with the same level of education may not. For example, 40% of EU workers in the UK are over-educated for their job; and 61% of EU workers regularly worked more than 40 hours per week in these positions, while only 32% of British workers regularly work overtime. When faced with all the facts, there is definitely a labour shortage threat according to almost all analysts across the board. In order to maintain business as usual, employers will have to focus on heavy recruitment, as well as domestic training programs, or else they may face genuine economic crisis.