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What do you do when half your workforce decides to leave?
This is a dilemma many factories across 3 of the UK’s industries now face in the wake of Brexit. Depending on the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU, 3 of the UK’s most profitable industries could face their biggest staffing challenge yet, come March 2021.
According to the REC’s latest survey, the 3 sectors currently relying heavier than most on temporary staff from the EU are food & drink, warehousing and hospitality sector.
But just how serious is the situation? Are we talking about a few minor staff shortages here and there or is there more at stake? Unfortunately, the latter seems to be true. Far from being a matter of missing the odd shift cover here and there, it appears that we are looking at a possible loss of over half of total agency staff.
According to the survey, a whopping 60% of respondents who supply agency workers in the warehousing sector rely on EU workers for 50% or more of their staff. As if this wasn’t concerning enough, nearly 30% asked rely on EU workers to fill 75% or more of their temporary workforce!
The figures were similar for agencies supplying temporary staff across the food & drink sector. In total, 56% of respondents supplying staff to the food and drink sector relied on EU workers to fill over half of their assignments. Again, a worryingly significant number (39%) relied on EU workers to fill 75% or more of their placements.
Third and finally, we have the hospitality sector. By now, we can be fairly confident in seeing a pattern emerge! Similarly to the food and drink sector, 52% of respondents from the hospitality industry reported relying on EU workers to fill 50% or more of their total temporary requests for labour.
Overall, we can estimate that if the REC’s respondents represent most of the country, this means that roughly a quarter of temporary staff across these 3 sectors are from the EU.
Our EU Workers Are Young and Restless – Can We Keep Them?
Now settled in England, are EU workers happy to stay, rooted, and working in our factories and warehouses? Or are they a little more adventurous?
In a potentially alarming finding, the REC established that roughly 25% of EU workers in temporary roles across these 3 sectors are between the ages of 18 and 30. This could mean they originally moved to the UK because without strong ties to established careers or family commitments in their original country, they were more mobile. However, this freedom could serve as a negative if the UK becomes a less appealing place for non-UK nationals to live. Considering our admirably low youth unemployment rate among UK nationals, they could also be very difficult to replace.
Making Our Temporary Workers Feel Valued
Agencies across the country now face the dilemma of how to make sure their temporary workers, both UK and EU born, are happy and settled in their current work placements.
At Prime Appointments, we have seen great changes in the labour market over the past 26 years. Throughout this time, we have consistently succeeded in providing reliable staffing solutions, by putting people first.
Our temporary recruiters as well as our in-house support departments are dedicated to providing exceptional services to all of our candidates by making them feel welcome and supported. We offer a variety of shift to suit all lifestyles, including night shifts, day shifts, full-time and part-time.
We pay our temporary workers via PAYE, or “pay as you earn”, deducting income tax and national insurance contributions before payment. This makes things as straightforward for our workforce as possible. In the unlikely event of any complications, our in-house accounts team are on hand to offer advice and guidance. This also helps to make accruing holiday as simple as possible. While working in our client’s businesses, our temporary workers build up holiday, dependent on how many hours they have worked. We will be watching developments closely to see how political negotiations develop alongside the state of the labour market. In the meantime, we continue to receive excellent feedback from a wide variety of candidates about their experience with us. As one of the highest rated agencies for candidate service in the local area, we are confident we will continue to provide excellent staffing solutions to all of our valued clients.