The HR Forum

Brexit starts to bite?

HR in the news today with news that a survey sent to the British Leafy Salad and Brisitsh Summer Fruits members have reported a lack of seasonal workers for the fruit picking season.

In addition that 78% of respondents stated that recruitment was now more difficult than last year and 20% saying it had been the hardest for years.

So how can HR step up to support this?, is there a solution and creative thinking required here - it would be great to hear your view.


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  • Thanks Sarah, our impending BREXIT is being blamed for countless employment issues at the moment. While it may be causing workers from EU countries to feel a little unsettled and uncertain about their future in the UK, others are confident that the economic climate will take some time to change and that actually the benefit in working in the UK is still apparent to them. In the business I work for, in the manufacturing sector, I have seen some individuals choose to move back to an EU country in recent months. On the flip side, many others have been working here for a number of years and due to having permanent residence have no intention of leaving the UK. I believe Katy has a point below in that jobs involving manual labour are often portrayed as less skilled and are not promoted as other career paths may be promoted to young people. We need to look at the skills and requirements of the young people entering the jobs market and ensure all levels of suitability are catered for, especially if we are concerned about BREXIT having such an impact.

  • It would be interesting to see if they could look at re-branding/ marketing this kind of seasonal work and get schools and students involved and make it appealing. I live in an area where there's lots of fruit picking with a secondary school in the middle of it that I went to and I never saw any advertising for jobs when I was younger and even now there's no advertising. 

    Obviously employing young adults can have its own implications, but it could help foster passion for some to get involved with the food industry. 

    • Hi Katy

      Yes I think you are right and could provide young individuals initially with some work experience and an introduction to the world of work.  That said I've been fruit picking before and it is pretty back breaking work!

      All the best


      • I can definitely imagine it is! I think it would be good to encourage a change in young people's mindset because there seems to be a reluctance now to do the more physical kind of jobs. Or perhaps it's a societal issue that we place too much emphasis on highly qualified and skilled roles and push our young people towards those. 

        I think that could be a massive debate all on its own!

  • Yeah I've seen quite a bit on Twitter today about - it is becoming more and more difficult to filter out the facts and realities in this mess.

    Some good points (if not somewhat tongue in cheek) made in this tweet stream 

    Howie on Twitter
    “@mrjamesob @Sathnam Fruit grower voted for Leave, has 2500 workers entirely from Europe, says his business will fail if he cannot have them in 2019.…
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