Pro­cess­ing & Re­tail News

Re­cruit­ment chal­lenges

Fish Farmer - - Contents -

Their com­ments are con­tained in the lat­est com­pre­hen­sive Seafish quar­terly up­date on the labour sit­u­a­tion, first launched late last year in the light of Brexit.

The re­sult is that, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons in­clud­ing Brexit, seafood pro­ces­sors are find­ing it harder to re­cruit enough peo­ple.

The sur­vey says that 38 per cent of firms in the sam­ple told Seafish it be­came more dif­fi­cult to fill va­can­cies in the three­month pe­riod be­tween April and June this year, com­pared with the pre­vi­ous quar­ter. Only five per cent said things were eas­ier.

Scot­land ap­pears to be hav­ing the most prob­lems, with al­most half of the Grampian based seafood pro­ces­sors sur­veyed re­port­ing that re- cruit­ment had be­come more dif­fi­cult in the April-June pe­riod.

Pre­vi­ous re­search by Seafish found that pro­cess­ing sites in the Grampian re­gion em­ployed the largest pro­por­tion of non-British staff (mostly Euro­pean).

‘This sug­gests that seafood pro­ces­sors in the Grampian re­gion are more likely to be af­fected by changes in the avail­abil­ity of Euro­pean work­ers,’ the re­port adds.

One Grampian pro­ces­sor said: ‘Our Euro­pean work­ers are scared of the Brexit out­come and are re­turn­ing home. We’re find­ing it more and more dif­fi­cult to at­tract EU work­ers.’

On the Hum­ber (Grimsby and Hull), only two of the sam­ple’s seafood pro­cess­ing sites re­ported that re­cruit­ment in April-June 2018 was eas­ier than at the start

of Jan­uary.

Ac­cord­ing to 14 per cent of sur­vey re­spon­dents (10 pro­cess­ing sites), peo­ple from the EU are now less will­ing to come to the UK to work in seafood pro­cess­ing.

The ex­pla­na­tions for this in­cluded the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Brexit, the lower value of ster­ling, and ef­forts of Euro­pean coun­tries to en­cour­age their cit­i­zens to re­turn home (in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives).

Among its con­clu­sions Seafish said: ‘The main bar­rier to re­cruit­ing British staff in the seafood pro­cess­ing in­dus­try re­mains the neg­a­tive per­cep­tion of the in­dus­try held by po­ten­tial can­di­dates.’

In to­tal, 55 per cent of pro­ces­sors sam­pled re­ported that British work­ers did not want to work in seafood pro­cess­ing fac­to­ries.

The rea­sons for this in­cluded the phys­i­cal­ity of the job, the cold and wet work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and unso­cia­ble hours.

Over 80 per cent of pro­ces­sors in the sam­ple said that they would in­crease their ef­forts to re­cruit lo­cally. Seafish said in­creas­ing ef­forts to re­cruit lo­cally re­mained the most com­mon re­sponse to re­cruit­ment chal­lenges.

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