Changes in UK Borders: How does this affect warehousing?

With no surplus labour to rely on, it’s time to look to other means to keep warehouses running.

Post-Brexit problems

The government has recently announced the new points-based system that anyone from the EU must use if they want to work in the UK. The accumulation of 70 points comes from criteria such as ‘Job in designated shortage occupation (20)’ or ‘PhD in Stem subject to the job (20)’ ‘Salary of above £25,600 (20)’ and ‘Speak English at required level (10)’. Using the example of the average low-skilled warehouse worker, who on average earns around £18k (0), does not have a PhD (0), speaks English at required level (10) and in a job sector not officially in demand (0), someone from the EU would not be able to gain employment in the UK, even with a employer willing to sponsor them (20).

Impact on warehouses

In a typical warehouse, around 1 in 5 currently employed are EU migrants, meaning that the workforce will be theoretically cut by 20% if they are no longer allowed to enter the UK for work. The issue is that there does not seem to be any precautions in place to make up this labour shortfall. The world’s second largest clothing chain Uniqlo, recently chose to go fully automatic, which could serve as a warning to those in belief of sudden job creation and uptake. Mr Takino, the CEO of Uniqlo’s chosen robotics provider Mujiin Robotics, said in the case of warehouses, there are no humans to steal the jobs from because the workers just aren't there’.

Backup Plan

It’s no secret that the global supply chain is facing an employment crisis – around 25% of those currently employed within the supply chain are beyond retirement already as of 2019 – and the latest government announcement further compounds this shortfall. There are already problems with staff churn but, with the pool of available labour set to decline further based on latest government action, this is set to worsen. This means that increasing efficiency is becoming the more viable choice for many companies, allowing them to keep their current headcount but give them the training and tools to maximise their productivity. It has made it clear that the sector is going through increased labour demand globally and needs contingencies and software to help warehouses operate at maximum efficiency.

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This infographic brings together statistics from the past year giving you insight into how the market currently looks and what changes you can expect in the next year and beyond.

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