Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 13th April 2017
A majority of British companies within the manufacturing and services sectors are experiencing difficulties in finding the new recruits they need to expand and develop their operations.
That’s according to a recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which reports that most companies from what are two hugely important sectors of the UK economy feel that they are being “hampered by recruitment difficulties”.
Those difficulties could soon be made worse with the UK now officially in the process of withdrawing from the European Union (EU).
Recently published figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that close to 7 per cent of people employed in the UK are EU nationals whose long term freedom to remain in Britain to live and work is currently in some doubt.
The ONS also noted that EU employees are particularly essential to the operations of businesses and other organisations from within the hospitality, heath, retail and public administration sectors.
According to the BCC, performance among service sector companies in the UK has not returned to “historic trend levels” but is now “improving from its decline in the two quarters immediately following the EU referendum”.
Meanwhile, among manufacturers, the proportion of companies reporting increases in raw material costs jumped during the first quarter of 2017 to the highest level recorded by the BCC since the final quarter of 2011.
Around 76 per cent of manufacturers polled by the BCC said that they are currently experiencing “high levels” of recruitment difficulty, with the same apparently being true for around 58 per cent of service sector businesses.
But while Brexit and the associated negotiations are clearly a key point of concern for UK companies, Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, has emphasised that it is far from being the only issue affecting the ability of British companies to recruit the people they need to expand and compete consistently.
“Our survey, with deep participation all across the UK, demonstrates the fact that there are longstanding structural issues here at home that we need to tackle to sustain success in the future,” he said.
“The competitiveness of firms depends on a bold domestic economic policy - not just a good Brexit deal.”