Non-UK Born Worker Shortage Means Employers Struggle to Fill Vacancies
While unemployment has fallen to low levels in the UK, a lack of non-UK born workers is causing serious employment issues for many companies, as reported by the CIPD Labour Market Outlook, Autumn 2018.
The number of employers reporting difficulties filling vacancies has risen from 56% in June 2017, to 70% in autumn 2018. This issue is especially prevalent in the healthcare, public administration and defence sectors.
The number of non-UK born workers in employment in the UK fell by 58,000 in the year up to June 2018. This is a massive shift in direction since the year leading up to June 2017, when numbers rose by 263,000. This change has largely been driven by non-EU born migrants, who accounted for 40,000 of the 58,000. However, uncertainty over Brexit and the implications on working conditions for non-UK born citizens post-Brexit must be addressed.
While more British people than ever agree that non-UK workers are good for the British economy, forecasted post-Brexit conditions are making the UK seem a less attractive place to live and work. The situation will worsen for employers that need low-skilled workers, unless work schemes for non-UK born migrants are made fairer.
This lack of non-UK born workers opens a gap in the recruitment market, which is not being met by an increased uptake in employment by the domestic market of 18-24-year olds. In fact, the growth in employment in that age sector is minimal.
Difficulty filling vacancies means increased workload for existing employees, which in turn can result in higher wages being offered by employers as a way of retaining vital staff members. Even with monetary incentives, over a third (34%) of employers are reporting difficulties retaining staff, due to poorer working conditions and longer hours.
With over 70% of UK businesses employing non-UK born workers, and 40% of organisations being affected with loss of business and orders, this worker shortage makes for a difficult time for many businesses’ productivity.