Engineering employers voice Brexit skills fears

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Almost half of all engineering firms expect Brexit to have a negative impact on the engineering talent pool, a new report reveals.

The worrying findings, published today by The Engineer, are based on a detailed survey of 332 individuals working in engineering and with direct responsibility for recruitment.

Respondents cite negative post-Brexit perceptions of the UK and an anticipated reduction in free movement as major areas of concern.

The findings are a major worry at a time when companies of all sizes and across all engineering sectors continue to report problems finding and recruiting the skilled staff that they need.

It was also found that a third of engineering firms expect Brexit to lead to a decrease in recruitment activity. This expectation is reasonably consistent across the different sectors, although optimism appears to be at its lowest in the rail sector, where 45 per cent of respondents expect to see a decline.

The biggest dip in recruitment activity is expected to be felt in the immediate term, but there is little expectation that recruitment levels will return to pre-Brexit levels any time soon.

Indeed, 32 per cent of respondents to the survey expect the situation to worsen with the triggering of article 50 – the means by which the UK begins the two-year process of leaving the EU.

An end to freedom of movement within the EU – one of the potential consequences of any Brexit negotiations – is seen as even more damaging, with 38.8 per cent expecting it to hit recruitment.

Other key findings:

  • 16.4 per cent of engineering companies expect to see a recruitment freeze whilst 13 per cent report that a freeze is already in place.
  • 21.2 per cent expect a pay freeze and 6.2 per cent say one is already in place.

Click here to read the report in full

Has your company’s recruitment activity – or indeed your own role – been affected in any way by June’s referendum result? Let us know in the comments box below.