Will There Be a “Brexit Effect” in Professional Recruitment?

27th March 2019

Whether you’re for it, against it or are sick to the back teeth of the mention of it whichever side you fall on, there’s no getting away from the fact that Brexit is just around the corner. There’s no denying, either, that many industries are concerned about the potential effect Brexit will have on their members of staff who are EU nationals, as well as their ability to fulfil positions in sectors that are facing a UK skills gap.

However, while those fears remain very real for many business owners and managers, recent reports show that organisations are continuing to look for new recruits – albeit a little more hesitantly as the date of our EU exit creeps closer. Furthermore, more job seekers than ever are now turning to recruitment companies to help them find their next career move.

It’s clear the job market isn’t grinding to a halt, but what does it mean for the stability of that same market come March 29th as we enter post-Brexit Britain?

Will UK businesses still hire EU staff?

At the moment 25% of businesses in the UK have staff from the EU on their payroll. But a survey taken in August of last year shows that after Brexit, more than half of our business owners or managers are reluctant to employ staff who hail from an EU country due to pending changes in the UK’s immigration laws.

As of the 1st of July 2021, EU nationals, plus any family members who reside with them, must hold, or have applied for, UK immigration status in order to work here legally. Clearly this could affect the number of EU nationals who apply for UK jobs creating a real headache for HR departments, managers and professional recruitment firms.

How can UK businesses attract and retain top talent?

With the pool of talented candidates diminishing, UK firms will need to play the long game when it comes to attracting top recruits. For example, would your company be able to absorb the additional time and resources needed to recruit that perfect candidate who just so happens to be French and living in Paris? Or would you be better off focusing on recruits in the UK?

If your recruitment strategy is likely to be UK-centric try teaming up with a professional recruitment agency and/or local colleges and schools to gain access to the youngest and brightest talent the country has to offer. Or, if you’re struggling to find that outstanding candidate who possesses both specialised skills and experience, don’t forget that a whole world exists outside of the EU! Who knows, a recruiter may well be able to find you the perfect person anywhere from Botswana to Brazil.

Finally, you may be running out of time but if you still have valued employees who are EU nationals, you really should be doing all you can to ensure they understand their rights and know what to do to increase their chances of being able to stay in the UK after we leave.