Brexit erodes workforce

Thursday 7th September 2017
European outflow coming soon

Nearly half of EU citizens working in Scotland may leave the country due to Brexit, equal to a potential outflow of nearly 63,000 people. In a fresh survey by accountancy firm KPMG  findings are that 39% of EU nationals North of the Border are considering leaving. Some 7 per cent have already made up their minds to go. Compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland could see the greatest proportional outflow of Europeans. The looming Brexit (rejected in the main by London & Scotland) brain drain is exacerbated by the fact that those most likely to go are what KPMG terms “INDEYs” – independent, in-demand, educated and young.

An Insider Report finds tentative signs of investor confidence returning to the North Sea, where according to the survey, employers who fear to lose their workers, need to make them feel wanted. Nearly nine out of 10 EU citizens in Scotland want  employers to show a “clear commitment” to keeping EU staff. Some 71 per cent said it is important firms publicly emphasise the importance of EU workers.

Almost half North of the Border said they felt less welcomed and valued since the Brexit vote, an equal number – 49 per cent – of EU citizens in their home counties, feel Scotland has fallen in desirability as a place to live and work.

Phil Merchant, (right) KPMG's Brexit expert in Scotland, said that these findings are of concern given the skills shortage reported across sectors. He notes that “Business has a significant role to play in individuals' decision to stay or leave, with just under three-quarters of respondents looking to their employers to support them in the coming months. “If Scottish firms make a commitment to back  EU colleagues, the impact of so-called 'brain drain' could be reduced.

“The irony is not lost that Scotland, a stronghold for a Remain vote in the EU referendum, may feel the impact of Brexit the hardest. Some 50% of respondents plan to leave the EU in either 2019, or just after Brexit takes effect. Employers have two years to make a Post-Brexit  welcome for European citizens. They must also think how to attract, retain and supplement workforces.

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