Brexit Boost: Hiring and Salaries Rise as Supply of Cheap Foreign Workers Falls

As the supply of low-wage labour from the European Union dwindles, Scotland has experienced a “steep increase” in permanent and temporary job hires, with salary growth reaching a 10-month high at the beginning of the third quarter.

Brexit campaigners have long argued that unscrupulous employers have been the only real beneficiaries of Free Movement and mass immigration, and that a better-controlled system would see pay and working conditions improve.

The Brussels-based New Europe newspaper acknowledges that the new data in the HIS Markit Report on Jobs is “positive”, but claims it is “overshadowed by reports that European Union workers are packing their bags ahead of Brexit” — without appearing to consider that the two might be linked.

“Although slightly below the rest of the UK, permanent placements are rising rapidly in Scotland. Starting salaries are also increasing, so for workers who want to boost their earnings, now is a good time to consider moving job,” said Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive Kevin Green.

However, he then complained: “It’s clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks [and] parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home.”

Green made it clear employers were “not just struggling to hire the brightest and the best but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers”.

He added: “We can’t ignore the importance of our relationship with the EU to employers. If we want to keep our jobs market successful and vibrant, we must make it easier, not harder, for employers to access the people they need.”

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen to its lowest rate since comparable records began since the Brexit referendum, and stands at its joint-lowest rate since 1975 across the wider United Kingdom — despite claims by George Osborne and Treasury officials that a Leave vote would throw 500,000 people out of work.

However, there are still 104,000 people out of work north of the border, and 1.49 million across Britain as a whole; it is unclear why Green feels employers simply must have access to foreign workers from low-wage economies in order to fill working-class occupations in restaurants, warehouses, and so on.

Some commentators, even in left-liberal publications such as The Guardian, have suggested that many employers have become addicted to “a business model that depends on a constant churn of workers to carry out jobs that are underpaid and insecure at best” — which is why some might be resistant to a step-change towards a higher-pay, higher-productivity economy after Brexit.

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