Loss of EU workers will affect small business

17 May 2017

According to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) over half (59 per cent) of small businesses employing workers from the European Union (EU) are worried about accessing people with the right skills, and 54 per cent are worried about growing their business post-Brexit.

The report, ‘A skilful exit: What small firms want from Brexit’*, shows one fifth (21 per cent) of small employers currently have EU staff and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of these small firms recruited all of their EU workers when they were already living in the UK. This leaves the vast majority with no experience using the UK’s points-based immigration system to recruit non-EU workers.

According to the report, if Brexit creates additional barriers to recruiting EU citizens, 13 per cent of small firms that employ EU workers would consider moving their business abroad, 13 per cent would consider reducing operations, and 8 per cent would consider closing down all together.

The research highlights the need for small firms to have continued access to labour and skills from the EU post-Brexit.

FSB calls on the Government to guarantee, as soon as possible, the right to remain for EU citizens in the workforce. It also finds small firms, on average, want a transition period of more than three years after the UK exits the EU to meet their jobs needs.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, comments: “There is real concern among small firms with EU staff that they will lose access to the skills and labour their business needs to survive and grow. EU workers are a vital part of our economy, helping to plug chronic skills gaps across a wide range of sectors, and filling jobs in an already tight labour market. From packers, to mechanics, to graphic designers, small employers need to be able to hire the right person, for the right job at the right time."

At Beavis Morgan, we work with entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses, ensuring that the right people and processes are in place to achieve business success, helping you navigate the challenges and make the right decisions both now and for the future. We also offer a range of finance and payroll outsourced services, working as an extension of your team and providing a speedy and cost effective solution to your needs, saving you time to focus on the management of your business, and saving you the expense and effort of sourcing and recruiting people to oversee these functions in-house.

For further information, contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.

*Source: ‘A skilful exit: What small firms want from Brexit’