Processing & Retail News
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
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.