New research highlights a significant shift whereby UK jobs are now seeing more applicants from non-EU countries than those living in EU countries.

Research from the jobsite Indeed reveals that the average UK job is now attracting more interest from non-EU workers than EU workers for the first time in seven years.

This is thought to be due to the impact of Brexit which will see free movement from the EU end on January 1st 2021. As a result, candidates from non-EU and EU countries will be treated the same under the new visa application system.

This is reflected clearly in the data as the share of clicks on UK vacancies has increased by almost a fifth during the last year (19.7 per cent) by candidates from non-EU countries.

Conversely, the share of clicks from EU workers has hardly changed over the last year, climbing only 1.3 per cent from 2019 to 2020.

This has been a significant change – for the first time since 2014, non-EU workers are demonstrating more interest towards UK jobs than EU workers.

Indeed states that this surge in applications from those outside of the EU has primarily been driven by people from Hong Kong. It states that this jump in numbers coincides with the UK Government’s decision to offer around three million people in the territory who hold a British Nationals Oversea passport citizenship to the UK.

When analysing more closely, the most attractive jobs to non-EU workers are those in sectors which are high-paying and in high-skilled sectors. These encompass an array of industries including: technology, engineering and finance.

Specifically, during April and October of this year, almost a fifth of all clicks that were on UK-based software development jobs (18 per cent) were from candidates outside the EU.

The sectors which garner the least amount of interest include social care, construction and customer service. Within these roles, EU nationals traditionally fill around 7.6 per cent of jobs in social care and almost a fifth (17.8 per cent) of nursing jobs. However, these sectors are now striving to incentivise UK workers to take on these roles.

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at global job site Indeed, comments:

Despite the pandemic’s hammer blow to the UK economy, the UK’s jobs market is still attractive to foreign workers. But as the free movement to the UK for EU citizens ends, interest is increasingly coming from further afield. 

The introduction of the UK’s new points-based entry system, which places both EU and non-EU workers on the same footing, may be partly behind the increased interest from jobseekers outside Europe.

The increased interest from non-EU workers is not uniform across all sectors, with higher-paid occupations the most able to tap into these global pools of talent. 

The sectors viewed as least attractive by foreign-based workers, such as social care and construction, are of particular concern, given that several already face major recruitment challenges.