UK employers overly-optimistic about the impact of Brexit

Are UK employers overly-optimistic about the impact of Brexit?

13 February 2017 / Be the first to comment

British employers are surprisingly optimistic about the impact Brexit will have on recruitment, despite relying on EU workers to meet on average 30% of their current staffing needs and 87% stating that they already struggle to recruit the staff they need, according to a survey from skills organisation, City & Guilds.

In the poll of 500 senior decision makers from large companies across a range of industry sectors, more than a quarter (26%) said they don’t believe Brexit will have any impact on their business’ ability to attract and hire the right people, while over two fifths (42%) stated that they expect leaving the European Union to have a positive impact. This is despite the fact that almost a fifth (18%) of companies say that over half (51%) of their staff come from the EU.

In contrast to concern raised around the consequences of leaving the EU by many FTSE 100 companies in the run up to the vote to leave the EU in 2016 , only 29% of those surveyed are now readying themselves for a negative impact. Confidence was most pronounced in the capital, with nearly half (48%) of London employers expecting Brexit to have a positive impact on the talent pool. Such optimism is backed up by ONS figures showing that the employment market fell by 1.6m in the three months to November 2016.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: “There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the economy following the Brexit vote – particularly in relation to skills gaps, and the impact of any restrictions to the number of EU workers in the UK. Of course, we still don’t know what is going to happen, but it’s encouraging to see optimism among employers. I hope this means that more and more employers are planning to harness ‘home-grown skills’ thanks to the Government’s drive to increase the number apprenticeships in the UK.

“The apprenticeship levy provides a clear opportunity for companies to manage their skills challenges – but it will only work if businesses make the most of it. We need to see a drive from Government and the education sector to educate employers about the range of roles that apprenticeships could fill to enable them to reap the full benefits of their investment.”

When asked about the upcoming apprenticeship levy and the impact on their business, 31% of the business leaders said that they intend to use the levy to boost the number of apprentices that they recruit, and 47% agreed that the levy was a great way to get employers to invest in training. A further 34% believed the levy would help to raise apprenticeship quality.

However, while the majority know about the new apprenticeship system, most are not aware of the full scope of business needs and skills gaps that apprenticeships can address:

  • Only 18% believe that jobs in the caring and leisure sectors could be filled by apprentices – despite caring being an area that suffers acute skills shortages that could easily be filled by apprentices 
  • Less than a fifth (19%) think that management and leadership positions could be filled by apprentices – a significant opportunity as the research stated that these were the most difficult job roles to fill
  • Only a third (35%) of respondents believe that apprentices could fill roles for skilled trades – traditionally an area where skills are developed through apprenticeships

Comments 0 Comment

Add your comment

All comments will be subject to moderation, please refer to the terms and conditions of the blog.