Will Brexit mean a workforce shortage of 2.5 million?

Will Brexit mean a workforce shortage of 2.5 million?

6 February 2017


The world’s largest human resources consulting firm, Mercer, has predicted a gap in the workforce of some 2.5 million people as a combined result of the UK’s ageing population and the impact of Brexit on immigration.

Using their patented Mercer Workforce Monitor, the company state that the ageing domestic workforce has been “masked” in recent years, thanks to the positive net migration – but that is about to change dramatically.

With the so-called ‘hard’ Brexit due to have a massive impact on immigration, this could result in a massive gap in UK businesses. It looks like there will be a serious problem filling millions of roles across the country if companies don’t start looking in to alternatives.

Net migration is anticipated to be cut in half from current levels to 185,000 per year from 2020 onwards - a figure that Mercer believes will truly exacerbate existing problems in the British labour market. Especially since many UK-born business talents have left the country in recent years to pursue a career abroad.  

The firm are urging employers and recruiters to have the conversation about how to plug this talent void now – even though they don’t predict the impact of Brexit will truly hit the British workforce until 2030.

They see the imminent triggering of Article 50 as a serious “wake up call” to UK business.

Mercer report on their website that there is a way for companies to avoid this dramatic shortfall. They state: “Organisations can do this by maximising the productivity and development of the people they’ve already got, and strengthening their external market position to attract the talent that everyone will want and need in the future.

“It will also require tapping into broader and more diverse talent pools to fill the gaps: retaining older workers, bringing younger workers in earlier on apprenticeships, encouraging and enabling more women back into the workforce, embracing flexible working in order to attract those with a disability - as well as finding ways to automate tasks and jobs or other ways to do more with less.”

The UK currently has an average ratio of 3.57 working persons to 1 retired person, according to the Bloomberg Index, which is a better statistic than many of our European counterparts.

However, this warning from Mercer is unlikely to be something that many businesses can ignore.

If you need to consider adding valuable team members to your workforce, get in touch with one of our recruiters. We have a wealth of expertise and advice at your disposal.



Written By Mary Palmer


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