Brexit: Employers are having to raise pay

Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty. Photo illustration taken in Brussels, Belgium, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Illustration/Files

Reuters — British employers are having to raise their pay offers to hire new staff and counter a growing shortage of European Union workers ahead of Brexit, a group representing recruitment firms said on Wednesday.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said its monthly survey showed starting salaries rose in October at the second-quickest rate since November 2015.

“We already know that EU workers are leaving because of the uncertainties they are facing right now,” REC chief executive Kevin Green said.

“We therefore need clarity around what future immigration systems will look like. Otherwise, the situation will get worse and employers will face even more staff shortages.” and may be forced to increase wages further.

Britain’s official statistics agency said in August that net migration fell to its lowest level in three years with more than half the drop caused by European Union citizens leaving and fewer arriving since the Brexit vote.

REC said its survey, conducted with data firm IHS Markit, showed the availability of permanent and temporary workers continued to fall sharply last month.

So far, there is little sign that the pressure on salaries detected by REC for workers hired via recruitment agencies is filtering through into the rest of the labour market, despite unemployment falling to its lowest level since the 1970s.

Average weekly earnings are rising by just over 2 percent a year, below the rate of inflation which has hit 3 percent.

Last week, the Bank of England raised its interest rate to the pre Brexit referendum level of 0.5% anticipating wage increase pressure in the economy.