labour shortage concerns.

As we've seen recently, a shortage of key workers for a job role can cause havoc across the UK. Even the suggestion of a lack of roles can cause these issues depending on how you interpret the media coverage. 

Recent concerns for lack of HGV driver roles caused a mass of panic buying of fuel before the supply ran out. Now, labour managers are considering the effects of Brexit and the Covid restrictions on the labour market. 

the inability to get European labour into this country…means it may take longer to get jobs done.
[The UK] has hung out the ‘you’re not welcome’ sign to these people and that’s not good. We will be standing in a longer queue for overseas workers.
We do need to get over the reluctance to make foreign labour feel welcome. There needs to be some easing on the [shortage occupation] list of those who can come in.
Leaving [the EU] has created a greater level of uncertainty and complication.

Douglas McCormick
Executive Director, Gleeds.

An exodus (or Brexodus) of EU workers from the UK has left the industry facing an acute shortage of labourers in some specialist trades.

Employment in the sector fell from 2.3m in 2017 to 2.1m at the end of 2020, representing a 4% fall in UK-born workers and a 42% fall in EU workers, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest ONS figures show that vacancies were at a 20 year high between May and July this year with 38,000 jobs left unfilled.

We can’t simply turn to immigration to solve [long-term labour shortages]. But in the short run, there is no solution other than to look that way.”

More than 500,000 UK-born construction workers are expected to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, as Alinea co-founder Iain Parker said: “Everyone you talk to is really worried about labour and where it comes from – and firms having to pay through the roof for it.

Tony Danker
CBI director general.

What this presents, is new and many opportunities. 

Brexit creates fear in many areas from a lack of supply, but the reality is turmoil in a post-covid world trying to keep up with an increased workload and ensuring there are enough skilled workers to go around. 

View all construction jobs here.

Essentially, this is not primarily about a constriction in the supply of labour. Workers are back in power because of the success of the vaccine rollout and the removal of lockdown restrictions – and the resulting economic bounce back.

Adrian Smith
Director of Operations, Randstad.