Blog

21 June 2016
Brexit – How will it affect the recruitment industry?

If you haven’t already heard, Britain has left the EU. The question that is on everybody’s mind is ‘How will it affect me?’. It has raised many concerns as we move forward as an independent country and the biggest concern is how it will affect our jobs.

Our friends at Recruitment Grapevine has collated a selection of thoughts from the recruitment sector:

Macildowie

Ed Vernon OBE, Chairman at Midlands recruitment consultancy Macildowie, claims that the Brexit should be seen as an opportunity to try a new approach to business: “At Macildowie, we were aware of the impact leaving would have, with the associated uncertainty while the government renegotiates the UK’s position in the world.

“But this is the will of the people and the decision to leave the EU now creates an opportunity to pave the way for new approaches. I am optimistic about the determination and commitment of business leaders across the Midlands and the UK as a whole to succeed.”

Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Responding to today’s announcement, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s Chief Executive Kevin Green comments: “The vote to leave the EU is likely to usher in a challenging period for British business and for the UK labour market in particular. Our data has shown a slowdown in hiring as we approached the referendum. We expect to see this period of uncertainty continue.

“We need to ensure that British businesses continue to be able to get the people they need to fill the jobs available. Access to talent is absolutely vital to sustainable economic growth and prosperity. In sectors such as healthcare, education, hospitality, construction and manufacturing, workers from the EU are vital and any change to our immigration system needs to recognise that.”

Hasson Associates Recruitment

Sinead Hasson, Founder of Hasson Associates, explains the impact the Brexit will have on smaller recruitment firms.

She says: “As the owner of a small business the outcome will have a very real impact on my business and on the industry I recruit for. 

“At Hasson Associates we recruit for the market research and insight industry, it’s an industry reliant on the knowledge and experience of people not just here in the UK, but across the whole of Europe”

Meridian Business Support

Mark Mitchell, CEO of Meridian Business Support, has labelled today a “sad day for the UK.”

He comments: “As a country we will become less relevant. In the years to come, I expect we will experience a significant lack of investment in major industries as other countries won’t want to trade with the UK. Brexit means we are isolating ourselves and we may not seem favourable to other countries.

“But we have to respect the vote, and get on with it.”

CIPD

Peter Cheese, the CIPD’s CEO, believes it’s important that the government and UK businesses take time to properly assess the long-term impacts of any decisions that they take going forward.

“The impact of a ‘leave’ vote is much bigger than simply changing the political landscape of the UK,” he says. “It stands to have a significant impact on the world of work and future planning within organisations. We need a broad and thorough consultation between government, organisations and employees across all sectors and representative bodies. The CIPD will play its part in these necessary consultations drawing on our strong base of evidence and experience of the world of work. It’s important that the government takes the time to really understand the impact of any proposed changes and works with businesses to minimise risk to individuals, organisations and the economy.

“For most businesses, the immediate impact of this historic decision will be limited as major changes won’t be able to occur for a while. However, employment law, immigration and the ability of employers to bring the right skills they need into their business were key themes focused on in the campaign that will potentially be subject to change going forwards, and these things will no doubt be on employers’ minds.

“Now is not the time for hasty decisions or knee-jerk reactions from government or employers. Evidence suggests that the UK’s flexible labour market already strikes the right balance between providing flexibility for employers and employment rights for workers. We would urge the government to bear that in mind when approaching any renegotiation of our relationship with the EU or considering any changes to UK law.

“Another key element of our flexible labour market is that it enables employers to access or bring in skilled and unskilled workers from outside the UK to help support business growth and address labour shortages in our public services. It is important that this is not forgotten in any reform of the immigration system.

“Alongside the significant technicalities of a re-negotiation of a new relationship with the EU and possible further political change, it is vital the government continues to focus working with all constituencies on the very real and strategic challenges that continue to threaten the UK’s prosperity in future years, namely the productivity, skills and employment agendas.”

Argyll Scott

John Hunter, Argyll Scott’s CEO, discusses the importance in protecting UK jobs following the fall in stock and impact on the UK market: “Yesterday the people of the UK voted in a historic referendum with a momentous result that has left global markets and politicians across Europe reeling in shock. 

“Whilst it is too early to tell what the short-term and long-term effects of this significant result will have on the UK employment market, Argyll Scott encourages politicians and business leaders to act decisively and responsibly to protect UK jobs, support UK based businesses and to secure the global mobility of talent. We will look to collaborate with fellow recruiters to work with government advisers and policy makers to ensure the UK’s future employment legislation continues to protect workers and enable businesses to secure the best talent to drive their future success and in turn that of the wider UK economy.”  

Indeed

Mariano Mamertino, an economist at Indeed, hopes the recruitment industry will not suffer from restrictions on the free movement of overseas workers: “After months of tortuous, recruitment-sapping uncertainty in Britain’s labour market, the Brexit verdict will deliver more of the same. A further, prolonged period of doubt will do little to encourage employers who have already delayed making hiring decisions to come off the fence. In the immediate term, some employers who deferred recruitment during the referendum campaign may now start to hire if they decide they can wait no longer.

“But the wider outlook remains hard to read, despite Despite Mark Carney’s pledge to do whatever it takes to prop up the UK economy. June’s official unemployment figures showed the jobless total reducing slightly, but the UK economy’s rate of job creation is fragile at best. In the longer term, crucial decisions will need to be made about what sort of labour market we want in Britain. UK employers have benefitted from the ability to recruit talent from overseas, and many Britons have seized the opportunity to live and work in other EU countries.

“While it’s unlikely that the shutters will suddenly be brought down on the English Channel, the free movement of workers has clear economic benefits – and it’s essential that British businesses can continue to be able to get the people they need to fill the jobs available. If Brexit is allowed to interrupt the flow of talent to the UK, Britain’s loss will be Ireland’s gain if skilled workers are lured by its dynamic and English-speaking labour market instead. So those tasked with the delicate job of negotiating the Brexit must ensure that a non-EU Britain enjoys the trade ties and access to European markets and talent that Norway and Switzerland do.”

Your World Healthcare

Ben Lawrence, a Director at Your World Healthcare, says: “The result today may see an impact on the recruitment of healthcare professionals from Europe. Any possible restrictions that could be placed on EU workers as a result, will vastly affect the chances of filling our ever-growing healthcare shortages.

“As an industry, our first contingency plan now should be to lobby the UK government to increase visa quotations from countries such as Australia. A restriction on healthcare professionals from South Africa, agreed more than decade ago, for example, will need to be reviewed to see if it can allow for their much valued healthcare professionals to come to Britain again.

“The next crucial step will be to permanently place nursing and healthcare professionals on the skills shortage list. With a growing population and ageing workforce within the NHS, tackling shortages will require robust action.”

As we listen intently to the news, all we can do is hope that Britain will remain strong throughout.

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