12th January, 2017 Reports

Farewell to Free Movement?

Brexit’s Early Immigration Impact: It’s The Workers We Need Most We’ll Lose Fastest

New research out today reveals the job sectors where demand for EU workers to fulfil UK jobs is highest are seeing the largest immediate dip in interest, following the leave vote. The digital research looked at volumes of online searches within different sectors and countries, and the opinions and intent indicators of people investigating a move to the UK.

The results reveal that interest in UK jobs for male-dominated employment sectors continues to rise, for example in Poland a 22% increase in interest in construction jobs can be seen. In contrast interest in employment sectors that tend to attract couples and families are experiencing a decline. In Poland, there are more health and social care jobs being advertised than any other sector, yet interest in these jobs is falling, down 17% since June 2016. Polish employee demand for jobs for couples in the UK decreased by 52%.

“When we look at the immediate impact of the leave vote on workforce issues we see the areas where demand by employers is highest are the ones experiencing a negative impact in terms of prospective employees’ interest in coming to the UK. We expect the uncertainty of the current situation to put off families and couples, but the impact this will have on specific sectors is perhaps being underestimated.” – Fleur Hicks, MD of onefourzero

Other key findings:

• Current UK ex-pats expressed concerns about a range of issues – 19% of Polish ex-pats expressed an intent to leave or discussed leaving the UK, while 14% were concerned about racism
• Analysis of social media conversations reveals international intent to move to the UK is particularly high in Ireland, followed by Canada and Nigeria – of the top 10, 3 countries (Ireland, Spain and Germany) are in the EU
• In Bulgaria, Poland and Romania intent to move to the UK to work decreased over the last 12 months – by 32%, 20% and 30% respectively

“While the uncertainty Brexit brings is having an impact on whether or not some EU citizens desire to come to work in the UK, it is worth noting so far there has been no significant decrease in the number of jobs being advertised in these countries by UK employers. It’s still early days, but we see this potentially growing shortfall in supply versus demand as a clear example of some of the workforce problems that are on the horizon in a post-Brexit world. Obviously, this is something employers across a variety of sectors need to keep an eye on as the situation will continue to change.” – Robin Grainger, Co-Chair of GK Strategy

The report, “Farewell to Free Movement? Immigration and Workforce after Brexit”, was created by GK Investor Services, which provides political due diligence to the Private Equity community and onefourzero, digital data and commercial analytics specialists.

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Note to Editors:

GK Strategy is a public affairs agency based in the heart of Westminster. Founded in 2009 by Co-Chairmen Robin Grainger and Luke Kennedy, the agency offers a full range of public affairs and corporate communications services. GK Investor Services is the agency’s research arm, while onefourzero is its sister agency.

See more articles by GK Strategy