"Almost one in three (29%) employers say that they have evidence that shows that EU nationals looked to leave their organisation and/or the UK as a result of the vote in 2016, and a similar proportion (27%) say that EU nationals are considering leaving their organisation and/or the UK in 2017," the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said in a report summing up the survey's results.
The unemployment sting will be felt most within low-skill sectors, including retail and wholesale, manufacturing, health and accommodation, and food services, where 56 percent, or 2.26 million, EU nationals are employed, the report said. These industries make up 45 percent of all vacancies.
While the report found that leaving positions and vacancies unfilled is the most popular response to labor shortages among employers, 19 percent said they would be interested in continuing to recruit EU nationals while absorbing any extra costs.
According to the CIPD, about 66 percent of all surveyed UK employers employ EU nationals. The primary reasons for employing non-UK nationals include difficulties attracting UK-born applicants with the relevant skills and the fact that EU nationals have better work ethic, motivation, and job-specific knowledge, the report said.
The UK government's plan for a 'hard Brexit' includes the nation's leave from the Single Market as well as a stricter policy on immigration and freedom of movement. These two factors could potentially have adverse effects on the UK labor market and economy, as both rely on the integration of skilled, foreign workers.