A shortage of 'desperately needed' EU workers is making it harder for British firms to find staff

LONDON — Brexit is making it harder for British companies to find staff, according to a survey released on Friday.

The IHS Markit and Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s monthly report on jobs found the number of permanent staff hired through recruitment agencies grew at the weakest pace for five months in the third quarter of 2017.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said the slowdown was sharpened by a fall in the number of EU nationals arriving to work in Britain as a result of last year’s Brexit vote.

“Candidate availability has been falling for the past four years and the record high UK employment rate, plus a slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work here, is exacerbating the situation, potentially leaving roles unfilled,” he said.

The survey found that recruitment of permanent staff through agencies in London is faring worse than average, with placements declining for the first time in eleven months. The REC said the financial sector, in particular, was struggling to recruit for skilled roles.

“The financial sector, in particular, [is] struggling to recruit for roles such as audit, payroll and risk,” Green said.

He called for the government to take action to ensure the post-Brexit immigration system is flexible enough to allow EU workers to come and fill low-skill roles in the UK.

“Low-skill roles are also hard to fill in areas like food processing, warehouses and catering — sectors that employ a higher proportion of people from the EU than others across the economy,” he said.

“We urge the government to ensure any new immigration system includes provisions for low-skilled and temporary workers so that warehouses, supermarkets and restaurants can access the people they desperately need.”

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