Workforce peril: Nearly half of all EU migrants are considering a return home

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 30 Aug 2017

A MAJOR survey has revealed that 43 per cent of EU citizens working in the region could leave the country. 

The work, commissioned by audit and tax experts KPMG, discovered that this significant number of the EU workforce in Yorkshire and the Humber are either considering leaving or are already planning to do so.

About  34 percent of EU citizens here are considering leaving while 9 per cent have already made up their minds to go.

When the results of the survey are extrapolated across the area’s entire EU workforce this group is equivalent to just over 54,000 potential leavers.

It follows detailed analysis by regional law firm Pepperells, released earlier this year, looking at impact of changes to rights to stay, which found 34,000 migrants may have an uncertain future, spelling out a potential crisis for the food industry particularly, where 33 per cent of operatives are from eastern Europe.

The region's findings are in line with the national data showing 35 per cent  of EU citizens are considering leaving the UK and a further 8 per cent have decided to go. This represents almost  a million potential leavers or 3 per cent of the national workforce.

The survey also reveals that businesses have a key role in determining the scale of any potential Brexit brain-drain with EU nationals calling for a clear commitment from their employers that they want them to stay.

KPMG also says that the research reveals that the EU workers most likely to leave the country are desirable employees who they describe as INDEYs; the independent, in-demand, educated and young.

Explaining the findings, Annette Barker, KPMG’s Brexit lead in the north, said: “Our survey highlights just how important the actions of employers are going to be if this region is to avoid a Brexit skills-drain. 

“This is a potentially serious situation for employers relying on EU staff, particularly those who employ a lot of ‘INDEYs’, or independent, in-demand, educated and young younger workers.

“Judging by the latest figures  in our region the manufacturing sector could be hard-hit, with EU citizens comprising more than 10  per cent of this workforce.

“There is a lot hanging in the balance and I am concerned that not all employers are supporting their EU employees in the way they need.

“Compounding this issue, at a national level there is a reduction in applications from EU citizens to UK universities. This could create a high-end talent pipeline problem – and a shortage of skilled professionals.”

The international survey, which sampled 2,000 EU citizens working in the UK and 1,000 EU citizens from the ten  countries most likely to supply EU labour, also found that most EU citizens in the region had specific concerns regarding employment. 

It revealed that 86 per cent of EU citizens in Yorkshire and the Humber think it is either very or quite important to have a clear commitment from their employer that they want them to stay.

The survey also found that 76 per  cent of EU nationals working in the region think it is either very or quite important for their employers to publicly assert the importance of EU staff. 

Some 44 per cent of those surveyed in Yorkshire and the Humber said they felt less welcomed and valued here since the Brexit vote. 

The statistics from KPMG also showed that 49 per cent of EU citizens in their home countries feel the country has fallen in desirability as a place to live and work. 

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