7 BREXIT thoughts for the recruitment industry

  4th October 2019       Private: Bond Williams
 Accounting & Finance, CIPD, Client, Company News, Engineering, Science & Space, Executive Search, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

The 31st October is fast approaching and while anyone under the age of 10 will immediately think Halloween, those a little older will know the milestone date means BREXIT. Although negotiations are ongoing between the Government and the EU, PM Boris Johnson’s recent rhetoric points to a firm and unfailing split from our continental neighbours.

One of the biggest questions surrounding our departure is the impact on the UK jobs market. The possible ramifications will be felt on many levels –by employers and employees – as well as by those migrating to the UK for job prospects and even among Europeans who are currently working here.

In this blog, we summarise the key points of interest, underpinned by a note of caution that everything is speculative as we enter unchartered territory. It’s also pertinent to point out that many of the UK’s recruitment prospects will be strongly linked to a potential no-deal outcome as well as any incumbent Government reforms and the chance of a change in power with a General Election looming.


  1. The thought that nothing will happen immediately is one that many analysts are talking about. It may be a case of ‘business as usual’ for months and even years after BREXIT as business adopt and wait and see approach. Companies will not have the desire or manpower to act overnight, so an apocalyptic 1st November 2019 isn’t widely forecast.


  1. Another train of thought suggests there could actually be a recruitment explosion after BREXIT. Analysis from the Office for National Statistics released in September 2019 shows hiring had slowed in the three months to July this year – a below-forecast figure blamed on BREXIT caution. Once we have left the EU, companies may draw confidence and increase recruitment activity.


  1. There may be more jobs for UK residents, especially in the wake of a no deal and a mass exodus of EU workers. Although it’s natural to think these roles will be filled by home-grown workers, many business analysts think wages will have to rise to entice UK people to apply.


  1. One thing is certain – HR departments will be busy. A change to free movement as a result of a no-deal outcome will raise questions among EU nationals already working in the UK and those from Europe hoping to gain employment here. The new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has recently announced some bold immigration initiatives, including an end to the right of residence, the introduction of European Temporary Leave to Remain (which lasts up to three years) and a points-based immigration system moving forwards. Indications show EU nationals already in the UK will be able to apply for a new status to remain until December 2023.


  1. Research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has shown recruitment professionals are most worried about a no-deal resolution, with 87% concerned about the impact on freedom of movement and a feasible recruitment crisis if EU workers have to leave.


  1. On the flipside, international students will provide a boost to the UK recruitment market thanks to an incoming relaxation of rules. Laws are changing as of 2020 to allow foreign students to stay in the UK for two years after graduating so they can find work. The announcement coincided with the launch of the world’s largest genetics project – the £200 million whole genome sequencing project in the UK Biobank, which will draw from a pool of international bioscience talent.


  1. New trade deals may indicate where recruitment will flourish and where job losses may possibly occur. While it’s hard to say at this stage what EU trade deals will survive after BREXIT, it is hoped deals with non EU members, such as America and the Far East, will plug gaps and boost the export/import market. In turn, this will strengthen businesses, and stimulate new jobs and recruitment.


There’s no doubt that pessimistic BREXIT talk will fill the air in the coming days and weeks but it’s good to end on a positive note. New analysis by BNP Paribas and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts an explosion of 2.7 million jobs in the science, technology and healthcare sectors in Britain between now and 2038, illustrating that every cloud on the BREXIT horizon has the possibility of a shiny silver lining.


Private: Bond Williams


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