Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Recruiters Say Brexit Is Making Britain's Skills Shortage Even Worse

  • Accounting, financial, nursing and IT workers in strong demand
  • EU citizens quitting U.K. leave firms with fewer candidates

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Robust demand for staff in the U.K. led to more people being placed in permanent jobs and a pickup in pay inflation last month, according to a report published Friday.

IHS Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said vacancies rose sharply in November and starting salaries for permanent staff continued to climb. There was also a drop in candidate availability.

Skill shortages plaguing sectors such as health care and engineering are being made worse by the departure of European Union citizens as Britain prepares to leave the bloc. Figures from the Office for National Statistics last month showed net migration dropped by a third in the year following the Brexit referendum, with EU nationals shunning Britain accounting for much of the change.

REC Chief Executive Kevin Green urged the government to “create certainty” for EU workers currently in the U.K. so that employers can plan ahead.

The need for staff is stronger in the private sector, in both permanent and temporary roles, according to the report. Accounting, financial, information technology and computing are seeing the highest demand.

“Although some hirers are responding by raising starting salaries in an attempt to attract scarce talent, there’s no evidence yet this is leading to pay increases for the wider workforce,” Green said. “Those who fail to hire will find themselves in dire straits.”

— With assistance by Kristian Siedenburg

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