UK’s skills shortage will get worse if we leave EU, says Manpower boss James Hick

Tim Wallace
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“It is definitely important that the UK remains in the EU” (Source: Getty)
Britain must stay in the EU to avert a skills crisis in sectors from finance to the NHS, the boss of recruitment firm Manpower told City A.M. yesterday.

James Hick said firms are already seeing a shortage of suitable workers and will rely very heavily on the free movement of people within the EU.

“It is increasingly difficult to find professionals in finance, IT and engineering. And we are even losing the ability to find an abundance of strong candidates at the entry level,” he said.

“It is definitely important that the UK remains in the EU.”

He added: “The NHS is struggling in terms of finding GPs if we want surgeries to be open all hours, and one way to address that is recruitment of foreign nationals into those roles.”

But campaigners for a reformed relationship with Brussels argue that solving the skills shortage requires other steps to be taken.

“British business wants access to the skills they need, but it is wrong to suggest that’s dependent on EU membership,” said Robert Oxley from Business for Britain.

“Current EU rules mean that business has unlimited access to some labour markets, while others are severely restricted. With public unhappiness at the current immigration system, something has to change.”

Hick was speaking as Manpower revealed very strong hiring numbers for London, as well as the north east and north west of England.

As a result, employees in the capital can see their salaries rise by as much as 15 or 20 per cent when they move to a new job.


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