Employers in the UK have drastically cut the number of permanent staff being hired through recruitment firms, a new study has shown.
The move, which analysts have attributed to business uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the possibility of a no-deal departure, is the first time the number has dipped since July 2016.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report on jobs highlighted a drop to 49.7% from 53.7%.
Whilst the number of job vacancies for staff nationally is indeed still rising, these numbers represent a significant reduction, and this is expected to continue as the UK moves closer to its EU departure on March 29 2019.
“The survey results are a sharp reminder to politicians in Westminster and in Brussels of the need to provide businesses with clarity about the path ahead, so they can invest with confidence,” REC’s Chief Executive Neil Carberry told Reuters.
The news comes as major employers in the UK such as ASDA have warned about the employment impact that leaving the EU could have. In October 2018, the supermarket chain claimed that more than 2,500 jobs could be cut as a result of the move.
"In a competitive retail market where customers rightly expect great value and ease of service, we must always look at how we can work more quickly and efficiently for them - and inevitably, that means we need to consider changing the roles we need our colleagues to do or the hours needed in particular parts of our stores,” said Asda in a public-facing statement. It concluded:
"We believe the proposed changes we are consulting on would allow us to do a better job for our customers. We also recognise that discussions about potential change aren't easy.”
The Midlands is projected to be the hardest hit by Brexit turmoil, with an estimated 19,000 job losses predicted by analysts at the Brexit Job Loss Index, whilst the automotive industry looks to be the hardest hit sector with 43,000 job losses across the country.