Staff dry­ing up in post-Brexit Bri­tain

Sunday Star-Times - - BUSINESS NEWS -

Growth in the num­ber of work­ers hired in Bri­tain via re­cruit­ment agen­cies slowed last month and fell in Lon­don for the first time in nearly a year, as Brexit makes it harder for com­pa­nies to find staff.

A sur­vey by the IHS Markit/ Re­cruit­ment and Em­ploy­ment Con­fed­er­a­tion (REC) found per­ma­nent roles filled by re­cruit­ment firms rose at the weak­est pace in five months.

The fall in place­ments in Lon­don re­flected re­cruit­ment prob­lems fac­ing the fi­nan­cial sec­tor in par­tic­u­lar, REC’s monthly re­port on jobs showed.

A slow­down in the num­ber Euro­pean Union na­tion­als com­ing to work in Bri­tain had ex­ac­er­bated a short­age of staff, REC said.

‘‘Low-skill roles are also hard to fill in ar­eas like food pro­cess­ing, ware­houses and ca­ter­ing sec­tors that em­ploy a higher pro­por­tion of peo­ple from the EU than oth­ers across the econ­omy,’’ REC chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Green said.

Last month the Bank of Eng­land said most of its pol­i­cy­mak­ers be­lieved that in­ter­est rates would prob­a­bly need to rise from a record low in the com­ing months, if the econ­omy and price pres­sures keep grow­ing.

The cen­tral bank be­lieves Brexit will re­duce the num­ber of mi­grants com­ing to Bri­tain, push­ing up pay and adding to in­fla­tion pres­sure.

The REC sur­vey showed the sharpest fall in can­di­dates for per­ma­nent jobs in four months while growth in start­ing salaries for per­ma­nent staff eased only slightly in Septem­ber from Au­gust’s 22-month high.

Re­cent eco­nomic fig­ures have painted a mixed pic­ture of Bri­tain’s econ­omy.

New car reg­is­tra­tions are on track for their first an­nual fall since 2011, while busi­ness sur­veys have shown fall­ing con­fi­dence in the eco­nomic out­look af­ter a slow first half of the year.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, ac­coun­tancy firm BDO said over­all like-for-like store sales rose by an an­nual 2.9 per­cent - the big­gest rise in more than three years.

How­ever, the in­crease was dis­torted by weak sales in Septem­ber 2016, sug­gest­ing un­der­ly­ing growth re­mained slow.

Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, the UK econ­omy is still ex­pand­ing, with in­fla­tion on the rise and un­em­ploy­ment fall­ing to a 42 year low of 4.4 per cent.

Bri­tain is due to leave the EU in March 2019, fol­low­ing the wishes of just un­der 52 per cent of Bri­tish vot­ers in a ref­er­en­dum last year.

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