United Kingdom: Largest and Most Highly Skilled Talent Pool in Europe


Historically, and moving forward, the talent pool made available across the United Kingdom makes it an obvious market of choice for employers to launch and/or hub many regional workforce programs.

Though they have the largest and highest skilled talent pool in Europe, the United Kingdom is also among the most expensive markets to employ contingent workers. The new national living wage has resulted in a shift in the labor market as employers slow hiring in sectors such as retail, hospitality, food services and catering. Ultimately, this will increase employer labor costs across these and other industries where there are high volumes of less skilled jobs. The actual impact on labor costs for skilled labor will be minimal and not undermine the value proposition of the United Kingdom’s extremely large and young labor pool.

Following the June 23rd 2016 British Referendum in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’), there are a number of changes expected in the coming months relating specifically to hiring demand, wages, and regulations as the United Kingdom potentially transitions from the EU to the European Economic Area. While there may be short term opportunities in making adjustments to regional hiring strategies, it remains unlikely that the long term potential of the United Kingdom as a top market for contingent labor is likely to shift.

Despite current market dynamics, employers can take advantage of the United Kingdom’s large labor pool to make selective hires across a wide variety of skill sets. The 13.8% unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year-olds is two and a half times higher than the overall rate making the United Kingdom one of the world’s most attractive contingent labor markets for employers looking for young, educated talent with a high level of English proficiency.