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Fewer EU workers are searching for jobs in the UK

Nobody can predict exactly what the actual outcome of Brexit will be in terms of worker migration and employment

The 2016 Brexit referendum sparked fiery debates for many months before the vote that summer, as concerns over topics such as rising inflation, and possibly needing a visa to visit the EU, dominated the lives and conversations of most people.

Some employers, however, had additional worries to take into consideration, such as whether their business could even survive if they currently heavily depend on workers from the EU. Recent research offers useful insights into which country’s residents are actively avoiding UK job searches and which jobs are being most seriously affected.

Plummeting numbers

Recent research carried out on behalf of job agency shows that since the result of the June 2016 referendum the number of EU citizens actively looking for work in the UK has fallen by an average of just over 11%. Taken individually, the stats for some countries show particularly dramatic drops. For example, since the Brexit vote, 52% fewer Romanians are looking for work opportunities in the UK, while Portugal has had a 42% drop and Poland a decline of 35%.

More interest from elsewhere

Conversely, Monster also report an increasing number of online searches for jobs in the UK originating from Scandinavia: interest has risen from Finnish and Swedish job hunters by around 20% in the same period. Searches are also up from workers in North American and Asian countries.

Which fields are losing out?

Brexit may seem to be deterring EU citizens from searching for work in the UK in general, but not all professions or job sectors have been affected equally. The biggest hits have been to the business and management, and the sales and legal sectors, with both recording around 25% fewer search queries compared with before the referendum. Engineering companies are actively looking to boost their workforce by at least 10%, but 14% fewer EU searches are being made in this area. This may mean there is a serious risk of British businesses being left with unfilled vacancies in crucial skilled and senior roles.

The way forwards

Nobody can predict exactly what the actual outcome of Brexit will be in terms of worker migration and employment, but there may well be more restrictions than are currently in place. Monster’s European marketing vice president, Sinead Bunting, suggests that actively targeting skilled UK residents who are not currently searching the job market is a positive, albeit possibly temporary, solution to filling some of these gaps.

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