Post-Brexit, the manufacturing sector expresses concerns over impending recruitment crisis


A new report is out from the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, entitled ‘Making migration work for manufacturers: Accessing skills in a post-Brexit.’ It’s based on a survey of 243 manufacturing employers, regional focus groups and one-to-one discussions with manufacturers.

The report shows that more than three-quarters of manufacturers recruit EU nationals, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s an area of great interest for manufacturers up and down the country. EU nationals making up some 11% of the manufacturing workforce and they’re employed across the board, from plant and machine operatives to skilled trades and associate professional positions such as engineering.

And given that the report highlights that 16% of manufacturers have seen an increase in EU national leaving their business and that a third of companies recruit EU nationals because the skills are not available in the UK, it’s no wonder they’re fretting.

Other points of concern for these companies are that three quarters of them are already struggling to fill roles and the feeling is that’s not going to get any better. Unless the government does something about it. Those interviewed called for a mobile workforce, and a plea to allow European employees to come to the UK to work for up to five years (with the ability to apply for permanent residency after that time has lapsed).

The EEF made the following recommendations:

1.      As a priority, the government should clarify the reciprocal rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in other EU member states.

2.      Within the same period, government should map out a new model for migration, for the point when the UK leaves the EU, which includes a phased implementation over a sustained period.

3.      Manufacturers need access to appropriate workers, therefore, skilled European workers should be able to come to the UK to work for up to 5 years, followed by the ability to apply for permanent residency.

4.      European nationals coming to study in the UK should continue to be able to do so with the opportunity to seek employment in the UK upon completion of their studies within a reasonable time permanent.

5.      Reduce the cost to business of recruiting from outside the EU by abolishing the immigration skills charge and reversing the recent decision to remove the short-term intra-company transfer route.

6.      To ensure the UK is an attractive place to study, the government should reinstate the Tier 1 post-study work route to enable non-EU students to stay in the UK 2 years after graduating to seek skilled employment.

Tim Thomas, EEF Director of Employment and Skills said, “Preventing industry from being able to recruit the best skilled workers from the EU could stifle growth, damage British industry and the UK economy as a whole".

He went on to say, “Skills shortages are endemic in manufacturing and engineering, and any points based-type system would choke off the skills needed by this sector. A highly-skilled STEM route should be introduced to enable non-EU STEM professionals to seek work in the UK without a job offer within a reasonable timeframe.”

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

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Post-Brexit, the manufacturing sector expresses concerns over impending recruitment crisis