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Brexit and talent pool create recruitment headaches for UK firms

Brexit and skills shortages have collided to make it harder for 13% of UK businesses to fill vacancies than usual, up from 9% in August, according to a survey by Hargreaves Lansdown.

The problem is greatest in hospitality, where 30% of businesses said it is harder to recruit, followed by the water industry and health at 27% and 23% respectively.

Some 67% of businesses said lack of suitable skills was the main reason for recruitment difficulties, followed by fewer EU applicants at 25% and low pay at 15%.

Just under half (46%) of transport and storage businesses said fewer EU applicants have made it harder to fill vacancies. The number of HGV drivers in the UK from the EU fell by 43% in the year to the end of March.

The UK recorded over one million job vacancies between June and August.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The world of work has shifted, and there aren’t enough applicants with the right skills. Meanwhile, Brexit has persuaded many EU workers to leave the UK, and in some industries, people just aren’t willing to do the work for the pay on offer.”

Hargreaves Lansdown said there has been a sudden boom in demand for staff in some areas given changes in work patterns during the pandemic and a shrinkage in others, which has exacerbated the skills shortage gap.

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