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Half of employers fear a shortage of candidates to fill jobs over the coming year, new research has found. The problem will be acute in engineering and tech, health and social care and construction, it was predicted.

A survey of 600 employers found that those with more than 250 staff were particularly concerned about the lack of candidates.

Demand for staff is highest in London, said the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Chief executive Kevin Green said: “There’s a feel-good factor about the UK jobs market. The official figures show record levels of employment, and our data indicates that this could rise even higher in the coming months.

“The candidate shortage is an ongoing dilemma. This is not a new problem, but the fall-out from Brexit has created fresh challenges.

“We’re already hearing that EU workers are leaving the UK or turning down opportunities to work here. In sectors such as healthcare, construction and hospitality, where the reliance upon EU nationals is especially high, employers are worried.

“The Government’s U-turn on the Budget reveals a failure to appreciate the consequences of policy. Their approach to immigration must show more clarity. Safeguarding the status of EU workers in the UK in the upcoming Brexit negotiations would help to allay anxieties amongst employers.”

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