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Published
Jun 17, 2021
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UK faces retail labour crunch as EU workers stay away

Published
Jun 17, 2021

A potential UK retail jobs crisis is looming. The number of European Union nationals looking for work has collapsed since Brexit, according to a new report from jobs website Indeed.


Photo: Pexels/Public domain


Although interest from workers outside of the bloc is rising, the decline in European workers is a problem and this may mean fashion retailers find it increasingly difficult to recruit European workers for store roles.

Low-paid sectors are at the sharp end of the decline. Interest in hospitality and retail jobs is down 41% since 2019. Falling EU interest at the lower-paid end of the labour market has not been fully offset by non-EU workers, the report said.

The problem has been compounded because many migrant workers left Britain during the pandemic and it’s unclear whether they will return. Indeed found that searches from EU workers were down by 36% compared with 2019 and by 45% since the Brexit vote in 2016.

Jack Kennedy, UK analyst at Indeed, said: “As the UK economy reopens and job postings grow, employers seeking to fill high-paid jobs may be able to replace EU candidates with workers from the rest of the world, but those hoping to hire from overseas for lower-paid positions may face additional challenges”.

Her added: “It means domestic workers may be required to fill the gaps. However, with many sectors, including hospitality, already struggling to recruit all the staff they need, higher salaries may be required to attract UK workers to fill those roles”.

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