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Half of Employers Say Brexit Will Worsen Skills Gap


Almost two thirds of employers (65%) believe that they will be negatively impacted by skills shortages in 2018, according to a research paper entitled “Solving the UK Skills Shortage” from Robert Walters, totaljobs and Jobsite.

Perhaps most worryingly, half of employers surveyed believe the skills shortage will be exacerbated by Brexit. Due to the skills gap the country is facing, 23% believe that Britain is not prepared to compete on the global stage, which will become even more important following the UK’s exit from the European Union in 2019.

David Clift, HR Director, totaljobs comments:

“As we head closer towards Brexit employers will have to think differently about how they attract and retain the best talent from across the globe. For current staff, training will be key to closing any skills gaps, and giving employees the confidence that the businesses they work for can help them fulfil their career ambitions.

“When it comes to attracting staff, employers will have to look to different industries to find the transferable skills that are essential to grow. This means that there will be more opportunities for skilled candidates to use their knowledge and experience in different sectors, providing them with new challenges and opportunities in industries that they may not have considered before.

“Shortages are likely to be particularly severe at the junior and mid-management, partly due to the long-term impact of the 2008 financial crisis, when levels of graduate recruitment fell sharply.

“Employers looking to find long-term solutions to the current skills shortage should focus on engaging with and informing graduates and university students of the opportunities available in their industry.”


  • 28% of employers would target professionals from other fields who possess transferable skills and 49% would use internal training to upskill staff
  • 57% of candidates would look for roles in other fields where their skills would be transferable
  • 48% of candidates believe that employers should partner more effectively with local universities and educate students on potential career paths and 48% believe that they should offer work placements

Chris Hickey, Robert Walters CEO – UK, Middle East and Africa, comments:

“While the ultimate impact Brexit may have is not yet clear, it is possible that employers will have to revise recruitment strategies to compensate for the lack of easy and simple access to professionals in Europe.”

“Developing innovative strategies to address skills shortages will be critical for employers in order to help their businesses remain competitive in a crowded global marketplace.”

Chris Hickey adds:

“Employers may need to consider broadening their hiring criteria and sourcing professionals with transferable skills from other professional backgrounds.”

“In many cases, in addition to helping employers fill business critical vacancies, this approach can help bring new and innovative ideas into an organisation due to their varied background.”

“Additionally, employers should consider the potential in building relationships with universities and colleges, giving them the opportunity to interact with students to help position them as desirable employers and to give students the opportunity to develop the skills early on that will help them thrive in the workplace.”

For further information, please contact the Totaljobs press office on [email protected] or call 020 70256 670.


Chris is a digital marketing and publishing whizz by trade, having worked alongside the Automotive, Information Security and Software Asset Management sectors.

Specialising in data analysis and social media, he combines an analytical approach with a creative flair to achieve the best results. With a keen interest in Technology and Politics, Chris is constantly on the look-out for the latest stories around change and innovation.

As a lover of all things innovative, he has developed a keen eye for spotting the latest trends and hot topics. He sources and reads the latest news and thought-leadership articles from the world of recruitment before sharing them with the social media population.


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