With 61,000 fewer EU nationals working in the UK in 2019, compared to 2018, and free movement coming to an end, we’re asking UK businesses – what is your strategy for the post-Brexit talent shortage? And how will your organisation overcome the inevitable challenges ahead?

As you would expect from Peeps HR, we’ve been monitoring the effect of Brexit on UK SMEs and its workforce. And so, we’d like to share our findings and offer some valuable advice if you’re an employer with concerns about the availability of talent in the UK today.


According to numbers from CIPD, employment levels grew rapidly after the 2016 referendum, but slowed in 2019. We discovered from reports that the number of job vacancies within the UK is high, and so too is the number of organisations reporting recruitment difficulties – 59% of private sector employers according to studies.

Many organisations have reported that they have chosen to increase salaries for key staff and new starters in a bid to overcome recruitment challenges. While others have opted for non-financial benefits to retain and attract staff with the right skills. Both being sensible strategies which should help mitigate the workforce talent shortage.

55% of employers reported that Brexit has not impacted their training budget, and in fact 20% had reduced it. This is surprising for us, as Peeps HR strongly believe that development and training is absolutely key at this time. Before the new migration restrictions come into effect in 2021, workforce planning should be at the top of all UK organisation’s agendas – with an emphasis on identifying skills required and, in turn, implementing any training requirements.

Meanwhile, The British Chambers of Commerce have conducted a survey of 6,000 UK employers which credits Brexit as the reason for 81% of manufacturers and 70% of service sector firms having difficulties finding skilled staff.

And reports from KPMG predicts that, due to Brexit, within the next 10 years the UK’s hospitality sector alone will need more than 1 million people to meet job demands.

So, what can you do – as an SME in these challenging times, to tackle the UK’s biggest worker shortage in 30 years?


1. Training and development – If you are struggling to find candidates with the right skills, consider finding the right person and training them to the level needed. Or developing and maximising the skills of an existing member of the team. Career progression, education and training are valued by employees and very attractive to potential recruits.

2. Brand and culture – The war for talent means that you will need to review your brand, salaries, recruitment strategy and all-round attractiveness as an employer if you want to ensure your business stands out during these uncertain times. It’s a candidate’s market and potential workers know their worth. It’s time to switch up your people processes and perks.

3. Communication – Your employees are worried about their personal and professional future. So, it’s down to you to create a secure work environment, be transparent, informed and communicate as much as possible. You need to be informed on the latest legislation and be able communicate this clearly and effectively.

“There are so many well-meaning ‘experts’ who simply don’t have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the implications Brexit will undoubtably have on your business.

Peeps HR exists to support UK SMEs by empowering you to get the best from your people the easy way.

So, whether you need some short-term help, advice and support in order for your business to ride this unprecedented storm, or a business partner to implement strategies and ensure you thrive and grow because of Brexit, not in spite of it – Peeps HR will show you how.”

Jayne Jaquiss, Managing Director, Peeps HR

Call us today on 01453 297557 or email enquiries@peepshr.co.uk for a free consultation.