Manufacturers fear a hard Brexit ‘stall’

Stock: Sheffield City Centre.
Stock: Sheffield City Centre.
Have your say

Employers in Yorkshire and the Humber were the most optimistic in the UK about the potential for hiring staff in the run-up to the General Election, according to a new survey.

However, the study from Manpower Group also revealed that many feared the outcome of a ‘hard’ Brexit because some sectors will stall without access to skilled overseas workers.

The survey is based on responses from 2,109 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire more workers, or reduce their workforce, in the coming quarter.

Amanda White, the head of specialist markets for Manpower Group, said: “Manufacturing is really leading the way in hiring positivity in the region, with chemicals, paint and automotive all looking particularly strong.

“Outside Leeds however, there are noticeable skills shortages, with southern parts of the region particularly struggling to find enough qualified engineers. In Hull, the proposals for a new energy park could bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area. This has created a buzz and could prompt further investment to the region.

“We have also been noticing that, in the temporary jobs market, clients are contacting us with ever more immediate needs, sometimes with only hours’ notice.

“Organisations do not want to suffer operational slowdowns so are looking to fills gaps as soon as they arise. This all points towards optimistic future employment intentions that have led to the highest outlook score in the region since 2014.”

Nationally, companies are demonstrating cautious optimism with an outlook of plus five per cent, despite facing a snap election, the triggering of Article 50, and weak economic data.

James Hick, the Manpower Group solutions managing director, said: “You might have expected hiring confidence to have taken a real hit, but employers have been standing firm. “However, unquestionably they feared the outcome of a hard Brexit on the jobs market. The election result throws into question the Conservative commitment to slash immigration to the tens of thousands and double the levy on non-EU workers to £2,000.

“The simple truth is that some sectors will stall without skilled workers from overseas”