Majority of UK retailers fear high cost of Brexit

retailer brexit

With Brexit negotiations set to continue until 2019, it has been revealed that 58 per cent of British retailers believe Brexit will negatively impact their access to labour.

The knock-on effects look set to hit employees, with 56 per cent of retailers saying Brexit will put extra pressure on their workforces.

A staffing crisis caused by a decrease in labour from EU workers could further complicate an industry undergoing rapid change. Retailers already have difficulty matching scheduling to business needs, with 41 per cent wrongly predicting staffing requirements. What’s more, two thirds say having the right staff in the right place at the right time is a struggle.

Ensuring employees are engaged and retained is a challenge for many retailers. Three quarters agree they could do more to improve work-life balance and reduce staff churn. Current staffing methods, like spreadsheets, make it difficult and time-consuming for managers to consider everyone’s preferences. Digital staff scheduling could solve this issue for retailers. Over half say it could increase staff happiness and make staff feel empowered.

Chris McCullough, CEO and co-founder at Rotageek said: “A softer Brexit could help retailers retain access to skills and labour from Europe, but right now there are no guarantees. The signs point to a Brexit that removes freedom of movement for EU nationals. If this triggered a staffing crisis there could be lasting damage to British high streets, so retailers need to examine the variables they can control to best protect their businesses from this external disruption. Smart scheduling and utilising company data can help ensure employees are engaged, productive and retained. After all, employees are the face of retailers and businesses should be doing all they can to unlock a better experience for customers.

“This data exposes how vulnerable British retailers are feeling – the government must look at how damaging limiting EU labour could be. High streets are already home to empty shops and relics of once great retailers. Managing the effects of Brexit effectively and utilising the right technology will ensure retailers can continue to flourish.”