by GK Strategy 22nd February, 2018
3 min read

Significant drop in number of Eastern Europeans searching for UK jobs online

Eastern Europeans are increasingly looking for low skilled jobs elsewhere as Google searches for roles in the UK dropped by 35% in 2017 according to the new analysis by GK Strategy and onefourzero.

As people increasingly researching potential employers online, google search data is a sound early indicator of changing behaviour and provides insights into the changing patterns of EU nationals looking for work in the UK. GK Strategy and onefourzero analysed demand for UK jobs through examining Google searches relating to work across Poland Romania and Bulgaria since June 2015. The data shows:

  • Searches for jobs in the retail and leisure sector also dropped by 13% over the same period
  • The data has also matched a slow decrease in UK people searching for jobs online since 2016
  • Meanwhile, online negative sentiment towards immigration in the UK fell by 4% over the last year

Job seekers from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria are being put off migrating to the UK by the uncertainty around EU citizens’ rights following Brexit, potentially leading to serious workforce shortages in key UK industries. Online analysis of jobs searches from The Philippines and India shows interest levels remain unchanged.

Demand for work for Eastern Europeans is dropping when it’s needed most. A loss of EU workers coming into the UK construction industry could damage its ability to produce new housing stock at a time of critical demand. Similarly, the decreasing number of seasonal migrant workers coming to work in agriculture could damage food production.

Commenting, Robin Grainger, Group CEO at GK Strategy said:

“Our analysis indicates that the UK is becoming a less attractive place to work in the eyes of Eastern European migrant workers. Business leaders should be aware that this could indicate a rapid drop off in workforce supply from these countries later in 2018.

“This is could present challenges for the construction sector, which needs a secure recruitment pipeline in order to meet the UK’s rising demand for housing.”

Commenting, Fleur Hicks, Managing Director at onefourzero said:

“The digital picture is stark. Key UK sectors which already face recruitment challenges such as hospitality, health and social care, and agriculture could see further workforce shortages, leading to price increases and intense competition for talent.

“Online searches for jobs in the UK have also followed a downward trend since 2015, indicating that British workers won’t fill empty roles.”


Notes to Editors

  1. GK Strategy is a Westminster-based strategic communications firm, you can find out more about them here
  2. onefourzero group provide digital due diligence. They deliver data-driven reports for investors and brands to help make decisions that affect commercial growth, marketing investment, digital strategy, operations and international expansion. You can see their website here.
  3. Methodology:
    1. GK and onefourzero analysed demand for UK jobs from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland through examining Google searches relating to UK work since June 2015.
    2. With more and more people researching potential employers online, demand data is a sound early indicator of changingbehaviour and provides insights into the changing patterns of EU nationals looking for work in the UK.
    3. We then examined demand trends for the sectors most reliant on EU nationals: retail and leisure, agriculture, health and social care, and planning and construction.The full report is available for download here.
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