• Over a third of EU nationals have considered leaving the UK due to Brexit
  • One in four believe EU nationals will leave due to a drop in construction projects 
  • One in five EU nationals considering leaving are undecided as to whether they’ll stay or leave.

Results from a survey of over 10,500 construction workers carried out by world leading recruiter Randstad, has revealed that one in three EU nationals have considered leaving the UK because of the Brexit referendum.

The truth is that it’s the potential drop in construction projects, subsequent funding, and availability of jobs that’s the biggest driving force influencing the 39% who are expressing concern. This is followed by uncertainty over trade deals with the EU (19%), new findings suggest.

A no-deal Brexit raises the prospect of delays and cost increases, as employers face difficulties to get vital EU workers to UK building sites, threatening timing of projects. With seven percent of construction workers in the UK and over a quarter of London’s construction workforce coming from other EU countries (ONS), plus the £10bn (15%) of building materials coming from the EU, it’s clear that action needs to be taken. The good news is that there is still time to make a difference and retain highly-skilled workers.

As the country gets closer to withdrawing from the EU, it is becoming clearer that employers and employees are skeptical of what the industry will look like later this year in terms of workforce and materials supply. When it comes to EU nationals considering leaving the UK, one fifth admitted that they are undecided as to whether they’ll stay or leave amid Brexit uncertainties.

Owen Goodhead, Managing Director of Randstad Construction Property & Engineering said: “It’s interesting to discover a disconnect between what the wider population think are key issues for EU nationals working in construction in the UK, and what those individuals actually believe. With the potential impact of Brexit being so high on the news agenda we were able to capture an incredibly relevant audience, allowing us to really tap into the minds of the current workforce and understand exactly how they think.

Where UK workers believe complications around visas are the main problem driving EU nationals away from the UK construction industry, the reality is that it’s the potential drop in projects and jobs which could cause workers to explore other opportunities. This valuable insight can help employers get ahead of the curve while there’s still time, by preparing for a post-Brexit industry - the key is to listen to the current workforce, focus on retention strategy and to ensure robust contingency plans are in place.”

Specialist recruiter Randstad has compiled a report following the survey containing top tips and guidance for employers within the construction industry. There is still time to act. Employers must be adequately prepared to continue supplying skilled individuals once the UK leaves the European Union, to ensure the industry which employs 10%* of workers in the country continues to thrive. 

To access the full report visit: https://www.randstad.co.uk/employers/areas-of-expertise/construction-and-property/brexit-uk-construction/

Notes to editors

10,556 survey responses
1671 - EU nationals working in the UK
8389 - UK citizens working in the UK 
496 - Nationals outside the EU working in the UK.

*https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/UK_construction_industry 

About Randstad

Randstad is the global leader in HR services and specialised in solutions in the field of flexible work and human resources services. We support people and organisations in realising their true potential. We do this by combining the power of today’s technology with our passion for people. We call it Human Forward. Our services range from regular temporary Staffing and permanent placements to Inhouse Services, Professionals, and HR Solutions, including Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Managed Services Programs, and outplacement. Randstad is active in 39 countries around the world and has top-three positions in more than half of these. At year-end 2017, Randstad had 38,331 corporate employees and 4,858 branches and Inhouse locations. In 2017, Randstad generated revenue of € 23.3 billion and holds the world’s number one position in its industry since November 2018. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, where options for stocks in Randstad are also traded. For more information, see https://www.randstad.com/.