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London businesses urge easier access to overseas skills

05 July 2019

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey

The CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), which conducted the quarterly survey among 500 businesses in the capital, said the situation proved the necessity for a post-Brexit immigration system that would enable companies “to find well-trained and capable staff” they badly needed.

The survey found that sales and exports indices were up, and all business confidence indicators also increased over the quarter - the first time this has happened for a year - with expectations for wider economic growth also improving, while still remaining modest.

Talent shortages challenging business

“However, with unemployment at its lowest levels since the 1970s, London’s recruitment market remained challenging during Q2 for businesses and workers,” said LCCI.

The survey showed that 23 per cent of London businesses trained up an existing staff member in order to acquire new skills while 82 per cent did not attempt to recruit during the second quarter despite the fact that almost two-thirds were operating below full capacity.

Of those businesses in the capital that did try to hire new skills, 61 per cent encountered difficulties finding the talent they needed.

David Frost, LCCI chief executive, said: “Most businesses looking to hire staff still face difficulties when doing so, with firms often concerned at certain skills deficits within London’s labour market.

“Around a quarter of businesses turned to investing in their existing staff during the second quarter of the year, in order to cover skills gaps. That is welcome but illustrates how tight London’s labour market is.

Post-Brexit immigration policy must allow businesses to employ capable staff

“After Brexit, it will be important that the UK’s immigration policy is well-designed so that firms can continue to find well-trained and capable staff. We at LCCI have concerns about the proposed £30,000 salary threshold and welcome signals this may be reconsidered by the next government. It is also vital that our domestic skills system is working as effectively as possible.”

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