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London vulnerable to brain drain of EU millennials as many consider leaving the capital

  • Nearly two thirds (64%) of London’s under 30, high-skilled EU nationals are considering leaving the UK in the next five years – adding to a significant skills shortage in the capital. –This is significantly higher than the 42% who say the same across the rest of UK
  • Already, there are 30,000 vacancies in London where no applicants have the requisite skills
  • London First are launching the London Employment and Skills Commission – made up of the city’s business leaders – to find solutions to this impending crisis

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the young, highly skilled EU nationals working in London are considering leaving in the next five years, according to research from London First and Deloitte.

London’s businesses are seriously concerned about this potential talent flight as EU migrants play a crucial role in the city’s economy, with 13% of London’s workforce born in other EU countries.[1]

Any loss of highly skilled EU migrants will add to London’s existing skills challenges. Already, there are 30,000 vacancies in London where none of the applicants have the requisite skills.[2]

In addition, there are currently 300,000 people in London who don’t have the necessary skills to find a job, and another quarter of a million held back from progressing in the workplace by lack of skills.[3]

To help tackle this skills crisis, London First are launching the London Employment and Skills Commission. It will identify ways in which business, government and skills providers can work more effectively together to give more Londoners the skills that employers need, now and in the future. It releases initial findings and a call for evidence today

The Commission is made up of top business leaders in London. Members include John Allan, Chairman of London First, Tesco and Barratt Developments; John Holland Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport; and Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner and Vice Chairman of Deloitte.

John Allan, Chairman of London First, said: “We have launched this commission because the skills shortage in London is approaching a tipping point, unless we do better at building local skills and we remain up to top talent from the EU. London’s workers are the UK’s taxpayers and they generate demand far beyond the capital – this is a national issue. As a community, we must find practical business solutions to the city’s skills shortage. Our Commission will look at where business and Government must invest to ensure we have the workforce the city needs.”

Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner and Vice Chairman at Deloitte, said: “The good news is that our wider survey also canvassed highly skilled workers outside the United Kingdom. Among this group, the UK remains the most attractive destination for talented people, well ahead of the US, Australia and Canada. London is also seen as the most desirable city and a significant draw for overseas talent in its own right. So with the right immigration policy, combined with an urgent effort to give Londoners the right skills to fill gaps in the workforce, there are solutions.”

The London Employment and Skills Commission

  • Chairman – John Allan, Chairman of London First
  • Construction/ Property – Mark Reynolds, CEO, Mace
  • Finance – Edward Thurman, Managing Director Financial Institutions, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Professional Services – Angus Knowles-Cutler, London Senior Partner and Vice Chairman, Deloitte
  • Retail – Natasha Adams, People Director UK and Ireland, Tesco
  • Digital – Russ Shaw, Tech London Advocates
  • Hospitality – Chris Vaughan, General Counsel, Whitbread
  • Transport – John Holland Kaye, CEO, Heathrow
  • FE/Training – Sir Frank McLoughlin, ex-City & Islington College Principal
  • Infrastructure – Rachel White, Regional Managing Director for Europe, CH2M
  • Economic/Political – Bob Bischof, Vice President of the German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce

(Source: Deloitte 2017)

About Deloitte’s research
Deloitte’s figures used in the Skills and Employment Commission publication are a new London-specific cut of survey data conducted for the firm’s report Power up – the UK workplace (published in June 2017).

This report surveyed 2,242 non-UK workers across nine economic sectors, and split evenly between higher and lower skills respondents, and between EU nationals (from Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and Poland) and non-EU nationals (from the US, South Africa, Australia and India).



[3] ONS

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