Impact of Brexit on Business and Recruitment

In late June 2016, the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union. Since the leave vote, the pound has fallen to a 31-year low against the dollar; due to David Cameron’s resignation, Britain has a new prime minister, the stock market fell dramatically and Investment Bank Goldman Sachs has made the grave prediction that Britain will enter recession within the next six months and that it will not only affect us, but a significant portion of the western globe.

Life after Brexit

Whilst Britain has voted to leave the EU, what exactly are the implications for the business community? Undoubtedly, challenges and uncertainty lie ahead as we come to terms with this momentous decision, but regardless of the naysayers, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. While it’s too early to say what the long, or even short, term implications will be for the employment market, there are some very real positives to be seen right now. And, of course, one constant will always remain: every industry will still need talent to succeed.

The contract market is set for a boost

We know from experience, that, in times of economic uncertainty, the permanent recruitment slows, as companies tread more cautiously. At first sight, this might appear to be bad news for industry, but that’s not the case at all. These businesses still need to hire if they want to continue to operate and compete in their markets. During the last financial crisis, while permanent hires fell significantly, the contract market felt a much needed boost. We can realistically expect the same to happen as these businesses look to contractors.

Better training and increased upskilling

With fewer skilled migrant workers coming into the country, skills shortages, in turn, will lead to higher wages and more people will be looking at upskilling into more specialist and senior roles. The lack of skilled migrant workers coming into the country too should see the government taking action by investing in new training and apprenticeship programmes. Clearly, the overall quality of the labour market will improve as a result.

Independence means freedom

Of course, being free from EU regulation has its own benefits. The UK will be able to decide what path it wants to take on employment law without EU vetting. So, as challenges do arise, it is conceivable that we can address them with new policies unfettered by EU intervention. We will still have immigration, but perhaps we can be more selective, choosing those workers with the skills sets the UK needs to thrive.

Without doubt, an uncertain time lies ahead for industry, but as challenges arise, those individuals that can see the predict, react and adapt to the emerging markets of post-EU Britain will do more than survive; they will prosper.

Peter Forshaw, Managing Director – Maxwell Stephens

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