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Nearly half of UK businesses say Brexit won’t affect their hiring plans

New research released by totaljobs today shows that almost half (44%) of UK businesses say that Brexit won’t affect the number of people they hire.


June figures from the Totaljobs Employment Index (TEI) have revealed that the number of jobs posted on the totaljobs website is up 4% from May to June, showing UK employers are still actively hiring. However, despite this, almost half (48%) of UK jobseekers are more concerned about finding a job now than before the EU Referendum.


The research was conducted by totaljobs in July 2016 following the EU Referendum, and surveyed both employers and candidates. It reveals that 44% of all candidates believe there will be more competition for jobs following the EU Referendum, while 28% say that Brexit has already had an impact on their job search. Nearly a fifth (19%) have become less selective about the jobs they apply for, compared with 16% who are now more selective. Of those currently employed, 34% are worried about their job security as a result of Brexit, whilst half (52%) are not concerned.


The research found, however, that many employers have not yet taken steps to ease employees’ concerns about Brexit. In fact, almost three-quarters (72%) of employees say they have not been spoken to by their employer about the impact of Brexit. Just 18% of employees said their employer had talked to them about the impact of Brexit on the business they work in, and one in 10 have been spoken to about the impact of Brexit on them personally. One in four (24%) businesses said they haven’t communicated with employees on the impact of Brexit as they don’t know what they should be saying.


Employers are much more confident about the economic outlook than candidates, the research indicated. Nearly half (44%) of businesses said that Brexit won’t affect the number of people they hire, compared to a quarter (23%) who said they are likely to hire less. Whilst almost a third (30%) stated that they had already noticed the impact of Brexit on their business, the majority of employers said that they won’t delay hiring for roles (54%) and that it is unlikely that they will have to let people go (61%) due to Brexit.


Most employers don’t think that Brexit will have an effect on their ability to attract and retain the best talent (61%), according to the research. When asked for their views on a number of post-Brexit scenarios, the vast majority do not think there will be a recruitment freeze (65%) or a salary freeze (78%) -- good news for jobseekers and the economy generally. Looking slightly wider, only 21% of businesses say they are now less likely to hire EU nationals than before Brexit, and 21% think that Brexit will have no effect at all on their businesses.


John Salt, group sales director at totaljobs, said, “The Referendum and Brexit vote has stirred up an amount of uncertainty among candidates and some employers. What we’re seeing is that jobseekers are now slightly more concerned about their ability to find or keep a job.


“Nevertheless, what we’ve also found is that this uncertainty is not matched on the same scale by businesses, who in general remain pretty confident of their ability to attract and retain staff. This business confidence is certainly backed up by our data from our Totaljobs Employment Index report, with job postings on totaljobs up month-on-month, quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year showing businesses are still eager to keep on hiring.


“Despite this confidence, it’s important that the Government does all it can to steady the ship and push forward a business-as-usual agenda in these uncertain times. Some responsibility must also fall on employers, who we’d urge to talk to their employees and update them as best they can. This can be as simple as a conversation about the impact of Brexit on the company or its plans for hiring. Adopting a proactive approach will reassure employees, helping them to stay productive, engaged and loyal to the company.”


When candidates were asked which industries they think will be most affected by Brexit, banking (44%), manufacturing (36%), construction (35%) and finance (32%) fared worse. The Totaljobs Employment Index (TEI) shows that banking, insurance and finance jobs are down 5% month-on-month and quarter-on-quarter (QoQ). However, the Totaljobs Employment Index has also shown that job postings in the construction industry are actually up 9% from May to June and up 6% from Q1 to Q2. The ratio of applications per job, a measure of job competitiveness, is also up 30% year-on-year in the banking, insurance and finance sector, and 16% in the construction sector, showing that candidate demand is outstripping vacancies.


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