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Brexit labour and skills
As the two-year Brexit negotiations begin for Britain’s departure from the EU, we bring you all the relevant news stories affecting the labour market and skills.

CITB Forecast: Construction set for growth despite Brexit uncertainty
Monday 5 February
The publication of CITB’s Construction Skills Network Forecast for 2018-2022 reports that 158,000 construction jobs are set to be created over the next five years. The largest annual recruitment requirement is for Interiors, Fit-Out and wood trades.
Read the Forecast here.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has released Brexit impact analysis
Thursday 11 January
Sadiq Khan urges ministers to turn negotiations around before it’s too late; a ‘no deal’ Hard Brexit could mean 482,000 fewer jobs in the UK, including 43,000 fewer jobs in construction. Read more and see the full report here.

Construction and Related Engineering Sector Report
December 2017
The Brexit Committee published the Government’s Brexit sectoral analysis papers. Using CITB research, the construction paper highlights the value of the sector to the UK economy, and some of the characteristics of the industry (high numbers of SMEs etc). The paper also suggests that skills levels are already a concern, citing research that businesses are already struggling to recruit into vacancies. The full paper can be read here

Construction Industry’s Brexit Manifesto
November 2017
Leading trade bodies have come together with one voice to warn the Government of the construction sector’s labour market post-Brexit. Read more

Building on Brexit
July 2017
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has produced this report following a five-session Inquiry. It aims to review the challenges that will face the construction industry and offers some constructive suggestions on how Government and the industry should ensure that these million new homes can be delivered. The UK’s construction industry relies on EU builders to help it deliver the much needed one million new houses over the lifetime of this Parliament – to 2022. To achieve this target, the construction industry needs trained builders from outside the UK.
Read the Report


Managing Migration in a Way That Supports Labour Market Success
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has written this paper which reviews the models used by some of the countries that have been mentioned in the debate about immigration: Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Australia.
Read the document 

Building the Post-Brexit Immigration System – An analysis of shortages, scenarios and choices

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has commissioned this report, with independent analysis carried out by the Migration Policy Institute.
Read the document

Work in Brexit Britain – Reshaping the Nation’s Labour Market

Thursday 27 July
The Resolution Foundation, an independent British think tank aimed at improving the standard of living for those on low and middle incomes has produced an ebook which explains why our labour market may have reached a tipping point, with an increase in the relative cost of low-wage labour and a fall in supply as migration levels reduce. It discusses how businesses may react to these forces, mapping the varying scope for investment in skills and automation in different sectors.
Download the ebook here

Post-Brexit immigration policy must be based on evidence

Thursday 29 June
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation has published a comprehensive analysis of how the 2.2 million EU nationals currently participating in the UK labour market contribute by sector and region. EU nationals make up 17 percent of the workforce in London, including a third of its construction workers (33 percent).
Read more

ID cards plan for EU nationals ‘will be Brexit talks flashpoint’
Wednesday 28 June
Labour MEP says mandatory biometric residence documents will meet tough opposition from Michel Barnier.
Read more

Almost half of highly skilled EU workers ‘could leave UK within five years’
Tuesday 27 June
Deloitte study finds 47% were considering leaving after Brexit, while overall one-third of non-British workers could leave.
Read more

Training UK workers will be Brexit plus
Monday 22 May
Rob Perrins, boss of one of the UK’s largest housebuilders, believes the sector will ultimately benefit from Brexit by attracting more domestic talent. Speaking at last week’s FT Future of Construction summit, Perrins said he saw Brexit as “an opportunity to resolve some of the industry’s issues” with regard to closing the skills gap.

While political parties have all given assurances that EU-citizen employees working in the UK can remain following last year’s referendum vote, questions still remain over the freedom of movement for anyone looking for a job in the UK in future. The construction sector’s reliance on overseas workers, particularly from the EU, means luring home-grown staff is expected to become more pressing.

In a debate on tackling the construction skills gap, Perrins said he saw the potential benefits of the UK’s departure from the EU, but warned against government interference. In terms of training, Perrins argued that the industry lagged behind others – such as hairdressing – and only one in 10 on-site workers were undergoing training at any one time. He also argued the apprenticeship levy was simply a tax which would not work.

Preparing now for immigration changes after Brexit
Tuesday 11 April
Vikki Wiberg advises what firms reliant on EEA national labour should be doing in preparation for Brexit in Construction Manager.

‘Hard’ Brexit could leave industry short of 215,000 workers
Wednesday 30 November
The British construction industry could lose up to 215,000 workers in housing and infrastructure should a ‘hard’ Brexit occur, construction consultancy Arcadis has warned. Read more.

Diversity and Inclusion Report
Monday 31 October
Raconteur’s report is published in today’s The Times and highlights that the majority of sectors have been criticised for not being diverse enough. On top of this, Brexit is likely to make things worse. Fifty-seven per cent of employers are concerned leaving the EU will significantly weaken their ability to retain talent. Read the report here.

Is construction still recruiting in the wake of the Brexit result?
Thursday 13 October
CIOB’s Construction Manager magazine talks to Rob Smith, Ed Hoad, Shelley Lawton and Duncan McIndoe to hear their thoughts. Read more here.

Skills: a young person’s perspective
Wednesday 7 September
EY Foundation and the Chartered Management Institute has released a report, Age of Uncertainty, based on young people’s thoughts and experience of making decisions about their career, life in the workplace, and their ambitions for the future. Business Voice speaks to the chairman of EY Foundation’s Youth Panel, Chris Achiampong, to put the report in context. Read the interview here.

EU Labour is key concern for SME housebuilders
Wednesday 7 September
The movement of labour and the hiring of skilled tradespeople are among the most pressing concerns post-Brexit for SME house builders, according to a new survey. Read more here.

Vox Pops: What should be the first priorities for the new Construction Minister?
Tuesday 6 September
Brian Berry, Martin Townsend, Anthony Arkle and Andy Hill offer their opinions. Read more here.

RICS UK Construction Market Survey: Q2 2016
Thursday 28 July
The RICS Construction Market Survey measures sentiment among members working in the sector. Key findings include:
– Workload growth slows across all sectors as EU uncertainty delays investment
– Private commercial and industrial sectors see most significant easing in activity
– Outlook for workloads and employment growth moderates significantly
Read the survey here.

Apprenticeship Levy
Monday 25 July
Government responsibility for apprenticeships has moved over to the Department of Education, which includes the Apprenticeship Levy. Although some business groups have renewed calls for a delay or cancellation, the new Skills Minister Robert Halfon MP has confirmed the Apprenticeship Levy will go ahead and that further details will be published
soon. For the full list of Cabinet Ministers and Departments, visit

What does it mean for the fit-out market?
Monday 18 July
Dean Manning, Managing Director at Structure Tone discusses the possible impact of Brexit on the fit-out sector and construction industry. Read his post here.

How construction has reacted
Thursday 14 July
Three weeks on from the EU Referendum, Construction Industry Knowledge Hub provides a summary of how the construction market has reacted: The slump seen in sterling may boost the UK steel industry; growth will continue for the education and healthcare sectors, balancing out a cooling in the private housing market; infrastructure is a possible area for growth in the post Brexit economy; Brexit could have a larger negative impact by reducing employment and causing a skills and materials shortage. Read the full article here.

Apprenticeship Levy
Wednesday 13 July
Skills minister Nick Boles loses his cabinet place. What will that mean for the Apprenticeship Levy? Read his Facebook post.

The status of EU nationals in the UK
Monday 11 July
The Government released a statement “When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected. The government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.” Read more here.

Contractors need assurances over EU workers
Friday 1 July
Construction Enquirer: Let’s try and make life simple for construction in the wake of last week’s Brexit vote. Does the decision mean there will be less to build and will there still be enough people to actually do the work? The first question is one of degrees but the more immediate issue is immigrant labour. Contractors need to know that their workforce isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Read the article

Build UK – Next steps
Monday 27 June
Build UK’s Newsline highlights the priority of dealing with the short term issue of stability and confidence in the market whilst understanding the process of withdrawing from EU membership. Together with the CBI and Government, Build UK will identify and prioritise the key issues that directly concern the industry. Read the article

Briefing for CBI Members -Brexit: What happens next?
Friday 24 June
The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) provides a two-page briefing for members entitled Brexit: What happens next? It includes key dates over the next three months whereby CBI members can help to inform the approach as to what happens next. Read the briefing

Brexit could worsen construction skills crisis, warns FMB
Friday 24 June
Training Journal posts a news article citing the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) warning that the Government must ensure the new system of immigration provides the construction sector with enough skilled workers to build the homes and infrastructure projects we need. Read the article