'I'd hire 100 people today if you've got them': Brexit is making it harder for businesses to find staff

Warehouse ShotAngelsAn estimated 15% of warehouse and logistics workers in the UK are from the EU.

LONDON — A senior executive at a UK e-commerce company says the business is finding it “very difficult to hire” staff for its warehouse in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote.

“I’d hire 100 people today if you’ve got them,” said Robert Kulawik, chief operating officer of Everything5Pounds.com, at a breakfast roundtable in London on Tuesday.

“There is not sufficient labour around… The fact that Brexit is a yes scared a lot of European migrants from coming.”

Around 15% of all workers in Britain’s warehousing and logistics sector are from the EU, according to policy think tank the IPPR.

Founded in 2007, Everything5Pounds.com is a fashion retailer that had revenue of £22.4 million in 2016. The online-only business owns a warehouse in Essex where it holds all its stock.

“We’re recruiting totally British right now,” Kulawik said of the warehouse, but added: “What I’m finding is recruitment is really difficult.”

David Hordle, the managing director of independent London department store Morley’s, also attended Tuesday’s roundtable and said his company was not suffering as badly. Still, he said vacancies were remaining open for longer.

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