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Age and work in the post-EU referendum landscape

by on February 22, 2017

I don’t imagine this will be the last blog post that considers the impact of the Brexit vote for age and work related issues.

This recent article in People Management cites a CIPD Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey that reports 27% of UK employers say they have seen evidence that EU nationals in their organisations are considering leaving the company (or the UK) this year. The survey also reports that employers say they are struggling to fill nearly 750,000 vacancies in the UK labour market because of a lack of suitable labour and skills. And it’s the low-skilled sectors such as retail, manufacturing, health and hospitality that account for 45% of the vacancies.

How do organizations say they would address this shortage?

  • 26% say they would absorb the extra cost of recruiting staff from the EU;
  • 19% say they would retain older workers;
  • 17% said they would invest in more in training;
  • 17% said they would hire more apprentices;
  • 16% said they would recruit more UK-born graduates.

So is it possible that the post-Brexit landscape would be good for older workers (via higher retention rates) and workers of all ages (via more apprenticeships and graduate schemes, assuming these are not restricted to younger workers)? Enter David Davis, the Brexit secretary. According to this article in today’s Guardian, the UK is not about to ‘shut the door’ on low-skilled EU migrants and apparently it’s not ‘plausible’ that British citizens would immediately take low-skilled jobs in sectors such agriculture, social care and hospitality. So immigration restrictions will apparently be phased in.

There’s a long way to go before a clearer picture emerges of the UK labour market post-Brexit landscape. But we’ll be watching with interest to see the implications for age and work.

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