Nearly half of the UK’s manufacturers remain concerned about their ability to access skills post-Brexit. The slump in job applications from the EU has slowed since last year, but 17% of companies saw a slump in applications from European citizens. In addition, a further 13% of manufacturers still report an increase in EU workers leaving their businesses. Many of those employees are returning to the EU permanently, with companies struggling to recruit suitably skilled staff in the UK. This report calls on government to move swiftly to give companies and their workforce increased clarity over the future of EU citizens working in the UK to stem the outward flow.
Whilst companies are concerned about accessing skills post-Brexit they are picking up the pace to secure the skills they may need. Nearly half (47%) of those manufacturers questioned are also increasing training programmes for all existing employees and 37% increasing apprenticeship and/or graduate recruitment programmes. Improving pay and benefits packages is the route taken by 20% of companies in order to attract and retain staff for longer and 21% are accelerating plans for automation. Of course none of this is easy and the report’s findings highlights the need to get domestic skills and training policy right too.
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