Britain’s popularity as a destination for EU job seekers has plunged since Brexit vote

Stephen Little
The UK still remains the number one choice for Europeans looking for a job abroad: AFP/Getty

Britain’s popularity as a destination for European jobseekers has plummeted since its decision to leave the EU, with many workers now favouring destinations like Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland, new research reveals.

Job site Indeed analysed the online search patterns of millions of jobseekers from 15 European countries and found that the share of all cross-border job searches is down 14.7 per cent since 2015.

Despite the fall, the UK remains the most popular choice for Europeans searching for a job abroad, attracting 31.8 per cent all interest in the first nine months of the year.

Germany has seen its searches rise by 19.3 per cent, taking it to second place, while Ireland’s have risen by 33.6 per cent and Luxembourg’s by 56 per cent.

The data mirrors Government figures published last month which show that EU net migration to the UK fell by 106,000 to 230,000 in the year following the Brexit vote.

“For much of the past decade, Britain’s dynamic labour market has made it a poster boy for ambitious Europeans keen to progress their careers,” said Mariano Mamertino, economist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at Indeed.

“Last year’s Brexit vote hasn’t stopped that attractiveness in its tracks, but it is clearly giving many European jobseekers pause for thought,” he said.

“So while the UK is still the most popular destination among Europeans looking to work abroad, its lead is shrinking fast. Britain’s loss could be its rivals’ gain – and Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland are all attracting a greater share of the interest from upwardly mobile EU citizens.”

There has also been a shift in the pattern of Brits hunting for jobs abroad.

Traditionally, they have tended to look towards English-speaking countries such as the US, Australia or Canada, but since 2015 there has been a 15.4 per cent increase in those searching for work in the EU, the Indeed figures show.

“One more surprising aspect of the Brexit effect is the apparent outbreak of itchy feet among British jobseekers,” said Mr Mamertino.

“Britain remains a net importer of talent from the EU, but the surge of interest in European roles among UK-based job seekers suggests the cross-Channel traffic is no longer just a one-way street,” he added.

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