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The impact of Brexit on UK Employment

Friday 24th March 2017

As experts in the employment market, here is our view on how Brexit may affect UK jobs and some top tips for a successful job search in the current climate

Following the recent referendum we find ourselves in a period of flux and uncertainty. Without a crystal ball it is impossible to answer what the impact will be in the long term for jobs and employment, but we can hedge our bets that there will be some major changes in the UK jobs market.

Before the EU referendum unemployment was at a record 8 year low and while this is predicted to rise in the near future there is no need to panic just yet. Experts in all sectors have told us that it is too early to see any immediate impact on recruitment and the process of us actually leaving Europe is likely to take years. However, that is not to say that companies are not concerned about their future, and a quarter of Institute of Directors members when interviewed following the vote said they were planning to freeze recruitment. Positively speaking, this means that three quarters of its members would keep hiring at the same rate but it is apparent that companies will be taking a more cautious approach to hiring. This view is the same of the Bank of England who when surveyed it’s regional agents found the business uncertainty has risen markedly but most companies did not expect a short term impact from the result of their staff hiring or investment programme. Brandon Horwitz, Resource Trustee and Mentor believes, ‘the big message is that it’s an additional headwind to an already competitive job market in financial services, so it’s all the more important to be well prepared when applying and interviewing.’  Also, in the short term, now that we have an answer on the referendum it seems that ‘some employers who deferred recruitment during the referendum campaign may now start to hire if they decide they can wait no longer,” said Mariano Mamertino, economist at the global job site, Indeed.

One of the biggest impacts of Britain leaving the EU on employment will be the change of free movement of workers. Currently companies based in the UK have the ability to hire employees from the EEA without needing immigration permission, resulting in 2.1 million EU immigrants currently working in the UK[1]. This is likely to change in years to come making it harder for EU workers to work in the UK and vice versa. The companies who are located in the UK to serve the EU market are likely to eventually relocate their UK business to Europe leaving a shortfall of UK citizens unemployed. This is particularly true of large Investment Banks and multinational companies. It is possible that the forging of new trade agreements will open up opportunities for dynamic, entrepreneurial companies, so once the Brexit process is underway we may see a rebalancing but not necessarily a shrinking of the economy. An outcome of this is that the market is likely to get more flexible - more part time or fixed term or freelance arrangements rather than long term commitments.  .

If it is more difficult for UK companies to recruit and retain European employees, the pool of applicants applying for jobs gets relatively smaller. This may result in a skills shortage within the UK namely in the construction, engineering and IT sectors as well as the NHS. Building on this point, according to Mike Minnett, the retention of older workers is ever more important as younger talent from the EU will not be available to fill the gaps. Some predict as an attempt to fill this potential skills shortage the Government and businesses will invest in training programmes for workers.

As a roundup, whilst we cannot know how recruitment and jobs will be affected, and we are clearly facing an immediate period of instability where companies are likely to put a hold on big projects, major recruitment drives and spending, it is not all doom and gloom and there may even be some positive outcomes for job seekers following Brexit over the next few years. Companies will still need to deliver their day to day business which means opportunities will continue to be out there, with a little creative thinking. As experts in the employment market, Resource, a Finchley-based charity that helps unemployed Jewish people back into the workplace, we have the following top tips:

Don’t panic. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the masses of information available but take a deep breath, step back and re-focus. Take one step at a time. The impact of Brexit is unlikely to be felt at an individual level in the short to medium term so business as usual is key.

Be prepared and plan ahead. Ensure your CV, covering letters, elevator pitch and LinkedIn profiles are up to date and enable you to stand out from the crowd. 

Make a list of possible contacts and attend networking sessions to help you grow a network of people who may be able to help you in the future.

Keep up to date on news within your industry by reading industry press and websites, following them on social media and set up Google Alerts and extend your knowledge and maximise your potential through workshops, courses and seminars.

If you have skills that can address possible repercussions of Brexit - eg finance, HR, legal etc - now might be a great time to speculatively approach businesses to see if they need support.




The Times Newspaper, Thursday 21st July 2016





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Resource - The Jewish employment advice centreAddress: 8 Dancastle Court, 14 Arcadia Avenue, Finchley, London, N3 2JU
Tel: 020 8346 4000

Registered in England Number 5211299 Charity Registration Number 1106331
Funded by voluntary contributions and supported by Jewish Blind and Disabled

 8 Dancastle Court
    14 Arcadia Avenue
    London N3 2JU



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Registered in England Number 5211299 Charity Registration Number 1106331
Funded by voluntary contributions and supported by Jewish Blind and Disabled

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