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Recruitment Challenges are Already Evident in Sectors with High Dependency on EU Nationals


Innovantage (, analytics provider in the talent ecosystem, has joined forces with other Symphony Technology companies, Bond International Software ( and TempBuddy (, to assess the implications of Brexit on the recruitment sector. Published bi-monthly, the Innovantage Brexit Barometer will track shifts in hiring demand, providing both employers and recruitment organisations with essential insight into the way Brexit negotiations are affecting employment trends.

As the UK embarks on the process of negotiating Brexit terms with the EU, the first Innovantage Brexit Barometer, published in June, reveals industry sectors with a high dependency on EU nationals are already experiencing recruitment challenges with demand. The volume of on-line job adverts has increased by more than 100% in two years for some vacancies, indicating roles are becoming harder to fill.

Richard Turner, CEO, Innovantage, comments,

“There are a number of factors that will continue to influence the supply and demand of high quality employees, not least the political and economic uncertainty, as the Brexit negotiations progress. The inaugural Innovantage Brexit Barometer evidences the growing concerns of employers regarding the lack of available skills to support business growth. Clearly the issue is not just a future concern regarding the potential restriction of EU worker numbers after March 2019, the effects of the Brexit vote are already being felt, especially within healthcare and education.”

Key findings of the first Innovantage Brexit Barometer include:

  • Demand for bar/waiting staff is up 107% over two years ago impacting the hospitality sector
  • Data from the Royal College of Nursing reveals around 40,000 unfilled vacancies in May 2017, while demand for care workers (42% increase) to GPs (32% increase) and nurses (30% increase) underlining the health sector’s traditional reliance on EU nationals
  • Education providers are also struggling to recruit – demand is up 51% for lecturers and 49% for teachers

In contrast, as the financial services sector announces plans to relocate from London to other financial centres in Europe, most notably Dublin and Frankfurt, demand for Risk Managers has shown a marked drop; by mid May 2017, the largest banks had already signalled intent to relocate around 9,000 workers outside the UK.

James Payne, Sales Director, Bond International Software, comments,

“With EU27 workers’ rights to remain in the UK under debate during the Brexit negotiations, both workers and their employers are waiting for clarification on future work prospects in the UK after March 2019. Many EU nationals may opt not to come to the UK now to work, creating significant implications for organisations’ ability to attract and retain talent during this period of uncertainty. Recruiters need to stay abreast of what is happening in the political arena in order to discuss appropriate staffing strategies with their clients. Leveraging their candidate database through a robust CRM will be key to keeping close to the available talent”.

The UK’s reliance on an overseas workforce is well-documented; the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 3.55 million non UK-nationals in the UK workforce in Q1 2017. Of these, 2.31 million (65%) were EU27 nationals – making it essential for employers and staffing organisations to understand the impact of a potential cap on this core component of the workforce.

With the UK unemployment at 4.6 per cent (the joint-lowest level since 1975), Rod Smyth, CEO, TempBuddy says, “Many industry sectors such as hospitality and education are heavily dependant on being able to attract temporary workers to address their short-term needs. It is imperative that they are able to access the right skills to provide sustained levels of operational efficiency and customer service. Together with leading industry bodies such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we urge the government to take into account the needs of business, the public sector and job-seekers during Brexit negotiations.”

Richard Turner, CEO, Innovantage, confirms,

“The Innovantage Brexit Barometer will provide a regular update on demand levels, characteristics and influences within key skills areas and the latest ONS data on the shifting size and composition of non-UK workforce to help inform organisations’ decision-making. Innovantage is all about driving data-driven growth for recruitment organisations, and in this period of change examining the numbers allows companies to see the bigger picture.”

Innovantage, Bond International Software and TempBuddy and are part of private equity firm Symphony Technology Group. Founded in 2003, STG has a successful history of building leading global companies at the intersection of software, analytics and services with a strong presence in the Human Capital Management software and services space.

The Innovantage Brexit Barometer is available to download from


With over 15 years experience within the Recruitment industry, Mark considers digital publishing, digital engagement, recruitment marketing and advertising (all media), digital video production, creative design and more recently social media development as his core knowledge and where a lot of his experience lays.

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