More than half (59%) of small businesses fear skilled staff shortages in post-Brexit Britain, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
In a poll of 1,236 of its members, the FSB found 72% currently employ skilled workers from the European Union.
47% mainly recruit mid-skilled staff, such as care and construction workers, mechanics and office managers.
However, if additional barriers to recruiting EU workers were formed, firms would consider moving their business abroad (13%), reducing operations (13%) or closing down (8%).
- 54% are concerned about the growth of their business once the UK leaves the EU
- 29% said their growth prospects would be affected if their workers are required to leave the UK as a result of Brexit in 2019
- 40% plan to continue recruiting EU workers and accept additional costs.
Mike Cherry, national chairman at FSB, said:
“There is real concern among small firms with EU staff that they will lose access to the skills and labour their business needs to survive and grow.
“EU workers are a vital part of our economy, helping to plug chronic skills gaps across a wide range of sectors, and filling jobs in an already tight labour market.
“From packers, to mechanics, to graphic designers, small employers need to be able to hire the right person, for the right job at the right time.”
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