According to a survey of 2,000 employers, companies are suffering from a 'supply shock' as fewer EU citizens come to the UK, and they are struggling to fill vacancies.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claimed that the number of applicants per vacancy across all levels of skilled jobs had decreased since last summer, and claimed that shortages were causing many companies to increase wages.
The latest official figures suggest that the number of people moving to the UK from other EU countries is now at its lowest level since 2013, with the net figure for long-term migration from the EU at 101,000 in 2017.
Moreover, there has been a 95% fall in net EU migration, which dropped to 7,000 between quarter 1 of 2017 and quarter 1 of 2018 according to the latest official figures, compared to 148,000 the year before.
The number of applicants for a low-skilled vacancy has fallen from 24 to 20 in the past year and from 19 to 10 for medium-skilled jobs.
Half of the organisations with recruitment issues claimed they had increased starting salaries as a result.
Gerwyn Davies of CIPD stated that 'The most recent official data shows that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work in the UK over the past year. This is feeding into increasing recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for employers in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and which are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to immigration policy for EU migrants.'
Alex Fleming of recruiters the Adecco Group, who assisted with the research, said 'With Brexit looming we’re seeing a talent shortage and a more competitive marketplace. In this candidate-short landscape the pressure is on employers to not only offer an attractive salary, but also additional benefits.'
A government spokesman claimed that 'EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and we have been clear from the beginning of this process that we want these citizens and their families in the UK to be able to stay. After we leave the EU, the UK will continue to be the open country it has always been. We will have in place an immigration system that delivers control over who comes to the UK, but that welcomes the brightest and best who want to work hard and contribute.'