Immigration-fuelled skills shortages costing businesses £2bn

28 Jun 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Skills shortages in Britain, caused in part by strict UK work permit and immigration rules, are costing businesses more than £2 billion per year in higher salaries and temporary staff, according to new research.

Conducted by the Open University, the study found that 90 per cent of 400 firms surveyed have faced difficulties when it comes to recruiting workers with the skills they need. Reportedly, many also fear the further impact Brexit could have on UK work permit and immigration policies, as businesses expect a clampdown.

According to the results of the study, the recruitment process is currently taking longer for three quarters of businesses, with the average firm waiting nearly two months to find a new recruit that meets their requirements. This extra time is reportedly costing at least £1.75 billion, with the cost of inflating salaries to draw in applications predicted to have reached £527 million.

Commenting on the study, Steve Hill, external engagement director at the Open University, has suggested that training employees may prove more financially viable for businesses while they wait for UK immigration laws to alter in their favour.

“The UK challenge of finding talent with the right skills means that businesses need to look at recruitment, development and retention differently,” he said.

Currently, according to the research, 53 per cent of employers are unable to find workers with the skills they need due to immigration rules and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, while 53 per cent stated they were already using in house training to ensure they fill their skills gaps without putting their firm in financial difficulty.