Mercer Workforce Monitor™ - August 2017 Update

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It’s becoming harder than ever to fill jobs as the UK starts to realise the significant impact of an ageing workforce, which will only worsen as migration is tightened.

Organisations are starting to see the effects of the combined impact of ageing and migration on their UK workforce. Net migration is falling faster than in our original projections in our UK Workforce Crisis report released in February this year. At the same time, we are seeing a significant demographic shift with a growth of the number of older workers and a decline in the number of younger workers available.

Today we publish our 3rd edition of the Mercer Workforce Monitor™ report which examines the latest UK employment and migration statistics to identify further shifts and the impact on organisations. We also take a deep dive into the effects on the Health & Social Care, Construction, and Financial & Insurance Services industries. The report reveals that there is clearly an exodus of people from the UK’s workforce, either through retirement or emigration. Immigration is no longer filling the gap and the nation’s pool of younger workers is shrinking.

Change in Workforce by country of birth

Change in workforce by age

Key findings from the report

1. People are leaving the country:

Our analysis shows that more and more people from both the EU and UK are leaving the country. This suggests some people could be making the move out of the country before Brexit and on their own terms.

2. The UK’s ageing issue is not just about older workers:

The number of over 50s in the workforce has increased by 230,000 in the last year, whilst the number of under 50s has barely changed.

Our projections show that (at 100,000 net migration) from 2020, the number of under 50s in the workforce will fall by 200,000 by 2025, whilst the over 50s increase by over 1 million.

However there will also be a fall of 130,000 in the population under 25s by 2020, meaning apprentices and graduates will be in shorter supply.

3. Industries most at risk:

We looked into the combined impact of age and migration on each industry. Those facing the greatest risk are: Transport & Storage, Health & Social Care, Administrative, Real Estate, and Manufacturing – with over 50% of their workforce being over 50 and/or foreign born. However, all other industries still face specific risks (e.g Accommodation & Food Services have the highest reliance on foreign workers, while over one-third of the Public Administration & Defence workforce is over 50).

4. No one-size-fits all:

The combined mix of static workforce, falling supply of younger workers, increasing older workers and migration shifts will mean different industries will be affected in different ways and will need to develop varying responses. Our report provides 5 defence strategies and guidance on to how to make a start.

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