Is the UK losing fashion talent to the EU?

In the initial weeks after the notorious Brexit vote there was plenty of foreboding about businesses and talent leaving the UK to work in Europe, which would continue with the free movement of people and goods within the Bloc.

Those early facts and figures may not have been entirely accurate, but the latest Workforce Report by LinkedIn has revealed the UK is indeed losing talent to the EU and the flow of talent, that once led to London, has now reversed.

"In the aftermath of Brexit, LinkedIn data quickly showed that fewer people from the EU were showing an interest in taking up jobs in the UK. However, these changes to sentiment were only a tiny part of the overall picture.

This period has also seen economic growth in the world accelerate, with unemployment falling across the major economies, reaching lows not seen for generations in the UK. This optimism can mask deeper changes in the economy, but through the lense of LinkedIn’s insights, we’re able to look beneath the surface."

How the UK’s EU talent flow went into reverse

LinkedIn hiring data, captured in its monthly UK Workforce Reports, shows that the UK has gone from being a country that gains talent from the EU to one that loses talent to it. The change is significant.

Over the last year alone, migration to the UK from the EU has fallen 26 percent, while more people are leaving the UK for the EU than were previously. This month we’ve also surveyed 600 recruiters and asked them for their perspective. The results back up our findings. Almost half (44 percent) of recruiters believe that the UK has become less attractive to candidates from the EU since the referendum.

Net migration to the UK from the rest of the world is down 20 percent over 2017 almost as significant a reduction as migration from the EU.

According to LinkedIn, those advocating for a more global Britain, with London as a dynamic international hub of industry, need to move quickly to address the perceptions that are taking hold. Skills gaps as a result of falling immigration ought to create opportunity for British professionals. However, it’s clear that this is not happening automatically.

For fashion companies, if skilled workers are leaving the UK for Europe, it could mean higher labour costs due to a higher demand. Additional complications include the danger of losing EU funding for emerging brands and an increased supply chain vulnerability.

Figures released by Walpole in 2017 stated the UK luxury goods sector contributes 32.2 billion pounds to the UK economy in sales, accounting for 2.2 percent of GDP.

It further employs 113,000 people across the UK and contributes 5.2 billion pounds in tax.

British luxury goods exports are valued at 25 billion pounds, which is 78 percent of the sector’s total production value. That figure is likely to change come March 2019, when the free movement of people and goods will be restricted.

Photo credit Photo of the United Kingdom, source: Wikimedia Commons; Article source: LinkedIn "The UK is losing talent to the EU"


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