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What Industries Will Be Hit Hardest In Recruitment Terms After Brexit?

​Whatever your views on Brexit and whichever way you voted, there’s no doubt that once the UK is out of the European Union, it will have a significant impact on the UK job market. Quite, what that impact will be and whether it will be perceived as being a positive or negative will not be clear until the deal that the UK government negotiates with the EU is known. However, what is already clear is that there will be significant impact on various sectors and this has already started to happen. Official figures recently revealed that uncertainty that exists over Brexit has resulted in the number of EU born workers in the UK falling between October and December by 50,000 to 2.3 million, with many working in the banking, public sector and construction sectors.

According to recent studies, the five industries that will be hit hardest when trying to recruit after Brexit are:

Health and Social Care

Total workers: 4.4 million

UK born: 3.7 million

EU born: 217,000

Non EU born: 430,000

There is understandably a growing worry that Brexit could lead to a staffing crisis in the NHS as well as health and social care in general. The number of EU nationals registering as nurses in the UK has dropped dramatically by 92% since the Brexit referendum. Worryingly too, a third of doctors in the NHS plan to retire by 2020. Actually, where skilled nurses and doctors will come from post-Brexit is yet unknown.


Total workers: 3.4 million

UK born: 2.6 million

EU born: 362,000

Non EU born: 417,000

Since the referendum, one in twelve UK manufacturing companies have reported that they have lost or will lose EU staff. There is already a large skills gap in the engineering and manufacturing sectors meaning losing skilled EU workers will only increase this and make skilled roles hard to fill.


Total workers: 2.4 million

UK born: 2.1 million

EU born: 192,000

Non EU born: 201,000

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has recently stated that if the UK loses access to the single market as part of the Brexit deal, the construction industry could lose up to 8% of its workforce, causing severe recruitment problems across the UK.


Total workers: 1.9 million

UK born: 1.3 million

EU born: 265,000

Non EU born: 369,000

The UK hospitality industry relies heavily on non-UK workers. Pret A Manger recently revealed that just one in fifty applications they receive for manager roles are from British nationals.  


Total workers: 385,000

UK born: 328,000                                  

EU born: 30,000

Non EU born: 27,000

Farming requires a huge amount of seasonal workers every year. The fruit-farming industry alone employs 30,000 seasonal workers, virtually all from the EU who return to their home nations out of season. There are major concerns across the farming industry as to potential recruitment issues post-Brexit.

After a Brexit vote, led by primary concerns over too much immigration, some might agree with this trend. However, for many key British industries already suffering from recruitment problems, it might be a preview for the future economy.