Personnel Today’s Jo Faragher flags some new data from Monster.co.uk showing that the total number of searches for jobs in the UK out of other EU countries has declined 11 percent since the June 2016 referendum in which UK citizens voted to exit the union:
[W]orkers of Romanian nationality are the least keen to come to Britain to work, with Romanian search traffic for UK jobs dropping by 52%. This was closely followed by Portuguese searches, which dropped by 42%, and Polish by 35%. Searches from UK jobseekers continue to make up 80% of traffic to the job site.
At the same time, however, job searches by Swedish candidates went up by a fifth, and Finnish jobseekers by 18%. Monster also reported a rise in searches from some countries outside the EU – including the US and the Philippines.
Romania and Portugal are believed to be among the most common nationalities of EU citizens living in the UK, along with Poland (the largest by far), Ireland, and Italy, according to data from the Office of National Statistics. While net migration from the EU to the UK remained positive last year, the net figure of 90,000 in the year to September 2017 was the lowest since 2012.
The withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which is scheduled to be finalized within a year, will make it more difficult for Europeans to move to the UK for work. While a preliminary deal announced in December ensures that EU citizens already living in Britain will be allowed to remain there, employers fear that many will decide to leave anyway. A leaked draft of the government’s proposal for post-Brexit immigration policy caused consternation last September over plans to sharply curtail the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country and the amount of time they would be allowed to stay, which employers in sectors dependent on foreign labor said would leave them with severe shortages of workers.
These sectors, including hospitality, construction, and agriculture as well as more highly-skilled industries like technology and health care, have been concerned for some time over how they will manage in a post-Brexit labor market and have complained of uncertainty over future regulations. Employers have already experienced labor shortages due to reduced migration, while a CIPD report last year found that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the UK to meet its needs of both skilled and unskilled labor without the access to foreign talent provided by the EU’s open borders.