The number of people in the European Union searching for jobs in the UK since the start of the year has declined at a faster rate than in the first few months of last year’s Brexit vote, according to the popular jobs website Indeed.com.
Indeed.com says it has seen internet traffic from EU countries looking at British listings fall by 18% since the beginning of this year. The site gets more than 200 million visitors a month, and their job listings appear in 60 countries and 28 languages.
The news of the drop off of EU workers looking to the UK came just a few days before Article 50 was triggered, which permitted Prime Minister Theresa May to start the Brexit negotiation process.
Mariano Mamertino, EMEA internal economist at Indeed, said in an email: “As Article 50 looms, we are seeing a sharper and longer decline in interest in working in the UK than in previous ‘shock drops’ following last year’s referendum. As Brexit moves from rhetoric to reality, the strain on Britain’s strong but tight labour market will worsen”.
The 18% decline is just a part of a longer-term drift that has been seen in EU interest in British jobs.
Brexiteers may well rejoice in the decline in interest from EU workers, as immigration was a key deciding factor in the referendum debate.
Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear that regaining control over Britain’s borders was a key priority in her Brexit negotiations. The government wanted fewer workers coming into the UK from the EU.
However, this dramatic slowdown could well create serious problems for the economy. Approximately 45% of all new jobs that have been created in the economy since 2008 were filled by EU immigrants, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Much of this is thanks to workers from high unemployment countries like Spain and Greece coming to the UK to take up jobs that British people don’t want.
Sandwich chain Pret A Manger recently stated that four out of five applicants for its jobs are born outside the UK.
Pret A Manger is one of many companies now warning that Brexit could create very serious staffing problems. The retail and service sector and catering trade are all heavily dependent on overseas workers to fill jobs.
Indeed’s spokesman said: “For better or worse, a British labour market with fewer EU workers will be immediately confronted with a range of complex questions that will need to be resolved quickly to prevent major disruption”.
It seems that the UK and Brexiteers were in such a rush to ‘close our borders’ and stop immigration that they didn’t take the time to consider what we would do without them.