OPINION14 July 2016

Brexit: the impact on job seekers

Brexit Opinion UK

In these uncertain times it’s easy to put all recruitment plans on hold. But Sinead Hasson warns job-hunters and businesses to avoid inertia. 

Alfred Hitchcock reputedly said that drama is life with the dull bits cut out. Well, the past few weeks have been dramatic but certainly not dull. First came the referendum and then the fall-out as we witnessed a tidal wave of change and resignation upon resignation. 

It has been an unsettling time, not least for David Cameron who is now out of a job. We have read reports that firms will stop hiring and reports that firms are hiring, which will no doubt please at least one former PM. 

In the few days after the referendum we certainly saw, heard and palpably felt some uncertainty from our clients but once the dust had settled it was business as usual and they have got on with recruiting and hiring.

And what about the job seekers?  Some candidates changed their mind about roles quoting uncertainty about the economy as a reason. There were one or two non-UK citizens who expressed concern and there was a notable dip in new candidate registrations, at least in the first week following the referendum. It’s hard to account for this completely – but there was football and tennis to watch and the daily news made for gripping reading.

Data from online job-site Indeed shows that in the 48 hours following the result of the Referendum, the number of UK job-seekers looking for opportunities in Europe was double the average in the days leading up to the vote. 

With language being an issue, Indeed also reported that people running searches for jobs from the UK to the rest of the world were 73% higher at their peak on June 24th than the average in the days before the referendum result was announced.

In a market that is as candidate short as research & insight, even these slight dips can have a long term cumulative effect. As advocates of this industry in the UK, it is the responsibility of the sector as a whole to reassure non-UK citizens that we are still a multicultural global country and we are open for business.

The fear of Brexit suggested that we would struggle to recruit the talent we need and that we could lose jobs to the EU – so it is vitally important that we take the appropriate steps now to make sure we are ahead in this war for talent.

Any VISA changes are unlikely to take effect until 2017 and our experts tell us that we won’t know more until negotiations start properly and article 50 is invoked.

My advice to any global company reliant on a large talent pool would be to suggest that you might want to build in VISA processing into your recruitment strategy, plans and budgets. Now is a good time to shore up your team, particularly those who are non-UK citizens and work to reassure them that their job is secure.

If you are building your career in market research and feel like you need a change of employer then do just that, waiting to see what impact Brexit could have may hold you back.

Don’t put your career on hold. Get out there, keep calm and carry on job hunting – your career is in your hands…..which is more than can be said for David Cameron.

Sinead Hasson is managing director of Hasson Associates