Brexit - A recruiter's view

Brexit – A Recruiter’s View

 28th Sep 2016

Brexit – A Recruiter’s View

When the results of the EU Referendum came in and the shock announcement was made that the people of Britain had voted to leave the EU uncertainty hit and the questions started coming. Since the referendum the questions haven’t stopped but they have changed. There are still many questions surrounding the uncertainty in the financial markets but, as the head of a recruitment firm, the question I am asked most is ‘How has Brexit affected recruitment?’.

The answer is two-fold. Firstly, business is still busy, so in spite of the doomsayers predicting the bottom falling out of the job market, I’m pleased to say that they weren’t wholly correct. Yes, some companies have put a freeze on hiring staff until the direction of the UK is better understood but many have simply continued with business as usual.

Secondly, we have noticed a shift in the type of hiring that’s been going on. To continue with business plans, whilst hedging their bets, we’ve found there is now a greater emphasis on contract staff and temporary positions. It seems firms want to refrain from offering permanent positions until the outcome of Brexit is more firmly outlined.

As to the matter of candidate availability, that’s presenting a few more issues as people are electing to remain in their current roles rather than looking for new ones. This is probably a result of a combination of the usual ‘summer slow down’ together with the uncertainty that Brexit has presented. That said, unemployment figures are at an eleven year low in the UK, running at just under 5%, so the market is not as fluid as it was even five years ago.

One of the key areas we’re finding increasingly challenging is in the acquisition of qualified candidates for accountancy roles. ACA / ACCA qualified accountancy was a popular choice for the so-called Baby Boomer generation, but as they retire, there’s a lack of new talent coming through the ranks. This dearth, however, has its roots in a longer-term issue than Brexit.

For the future, what will we see? Well, that calls for a crystal ball and a good deal of speculation and many of the predictions we’ve had so far have been incorrect. However, it’s likely we’ll continue to see movement of qualified people between the EU and the UK – talent always finds a way and this fluidity has proven extremely beneficial to various national economies as well as multinational’s bottom lines. For the UK, it’s likely we’ll see a general worsening of skills shortages in key areas over the medium term. The trend towards hiring interim and temporary staff will likely continue over the short to medium term. Ultimately, things will settle down, and the permanent vacancies will start opening up again. As much as business dislikes uncertainty in the economy the stability of a permanent workforce has an impact too great to be traded off permanently.


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Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:30 by Patricia Hughes
Re Phil Spilsbury's comments about losing EU citizenship, legally this has not happened for individuals, even if the government invokes Article 50. Take a look at
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:24 by Patricia Hughes
Many of the reasons you've listed is why I decided to hop into the contract market in 2010 whilst the recession was causing similar market conditions. Other factors include EU contractors coming into UK - I've worked with other EU citizens on UK contracts - and also access to EU market for UK contractors. I get lots of mails in for EU contracts, probably more so in Ireland. So will that dry up? Personally, losing EU citizenship is the biggest blow. Business will take care of itself and their voice will be the priority of governments where as the rights of individuals can be lost and ignored. The biggest blow is the loss of EU Citizenship and all the privileges that bought which can never be returned. For the past 40 years we've enjoyed personal freedoms that we'd never enjoyed before in any point of Europe's history - and we've just thrown it away. Back to work, If your working in the EU now your EU health card protects you if you need medical help - in future that will require expensive insurance. This will just be one thing but unless we keep the status quo then working in EU will just be a list of hassles making it not worth it.
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2016 17:07 by Phil Spilsbury
Interesting article. Whilst "wait and see" is an understandable reaction, it is possible we will be "waiting" for some considerable time before we "see" how this all unfolds. Even with Mrs May's "trigger by March 17" remark we are none the much wiser. Better in my view where possible to set the course for our businesses and build the skill set of our people to be adaptable to meet uncertain environments - its not as if something else will come out of the woodwork over the next couple of years - to paraphrase Jim Rohn - its the set of our sails not the direction of the wind that determines our futures And those good people on temporary contracts now may well seek other permanent positions elsewhere - especially with low supply. Consider your options, make your best choices and commit to a course of action!
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2016 07:44 by David Lee

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