Mar 10

UK skills shortages

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) claims it is ‘absolutely vital’ that UK businesses have access to migrant workkers from the EU ‘to mitigate intense workforce pressures’

Otherwise, British businesses and employers would no longer be able to compete – firms would be unable to get the staff they need to grow

This came on top of news from the ONS (Organisation for National Statistics) that the number of EU citizens leaving the UK is at its highest level in a decade – and net migration has fallen to 90,000, its lowest level in five years

According to Fairbairn, skills shortages threaten to slow down growth and “training British workers isn’t enough on its own, nor is just hiring from overseas – business needs both”

Apparently, according to the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) one in five small businesses rely on skills and labour from the EU – Fairbairn says ‘they need clarity and certainty over migration’

A similar story is told by others recruiting from outside the EU – apparently, Britain has hit its cap in Tier 2 visas for non-EU migrants for the third consecutive month in a row

Phoebe Griffith from the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) warned of ‘irrepressibly high demand for migrant labour’ – ‘the government needs to act now by lifting the arbitrary annual quota of 20,700 Tier 2 visas’ – at the same time, employers should plan now for a world ‘without freedom of movement’


  • UK organisations of all sizes must recognise migrant skills will be less readily available in future, especially after Brexit

  • Already, they should be training up home-grown talent to address expected shortages

  • The result would be more skills available at home, even lower unemployment levels, higher average pay, more national demand and higher national productivity

  • What’s not to like?




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