Employers voice fears over shortage of skilled workers to fill jobs
Half of employers expect to face a shortage of suitably skilled candidates for jobs next year, a report warns.
The problem will be particularly acute in health, social care, engineering and construction, research by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) suggests.
A survey of 600 employers found that one in four expected to hire permanent staff in the next few months even though business confidence remained "significantly lower" than before the EU referendum.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: " Employers are raising red flags about being unable to fill the jobs they have available. We urge the government to take this issue seriously when considering changes to immigration policy.
"Limiting access to skills and talent from abroad at a time of severe candidate shortages will risk future prosperity for all.
"In 2015 UK businesses invested more than £45 billion in training and skills development. While this long-term commitment to upskilling the domestic workforce is vital, there is an immediate need for people from abroad.
"Employers need the talent, attitude and skills of those who are keen to work to make British businesses and public services successful.
"Across the economy, in high-skill sectors such as engineering and technology and in non-graduate roles in social care, hospitality and construction, employers are already facing labour shortages.
"This is not a new problem, but if further restrictions are placed on workers from the EU the situation will only get worse.
"The UK is at near-full employment, and the idea that the domestic labour force could fill all the opportunities available is a non-starter."