UNCERTAINTY over the post-Brexit employment status of EU nationals could cause a recruitment shortfall in the UK’s car retailing sector, Coachworks Consulting has warned.
While the government has offered EU citizens currently working in the UK a settlement scheme, Coachworks Consulting is concerned about future recruitment restrictions if the UK fails to deliver a free movement of labour agreement with the EU.
Karl Davis, Managing Director of Coachworks Consulting, said: “One of the key unresolved issues in the Brexit debate is what will happen after 29 March 2019 when businesses need to recruit new staff?
“The UK car retailing sector has long benefitted from the skills and work ethic of employees from EU member states across all disciplines from sales and aftersales through to valeting. While the status of European immigrants currently employed in our sector looks assured, we still do not know if the free movement rules will remain.”
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) estimates that around 10% of staff employed in the UK automotive sector are from elsewhere in the EU
Davis also cited research by the Office for National for National Statistics showing how the number of EU nationals working in the UK dropped year-on-year in Q1 2018 by 20,000 to 2.29 million, the first fall in eight years.
He added: “Car retailers across the UK need assurances now about who they can recruit after March 2019 if business plans being written now are to be achieved.”