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What is the potential impact of Brexit on the recruitment sector?

John Salt, group sales director at totaljobs

The full impact of Brexit on the recruitment sector remains to be seen and will only become clearer as the details of the UK’s exit plan from the EU become evident.

What is certain is that half of jobseekers are more concerned about finding a job after we voted to leave the EU. It’s just one of the findings from our new monthly Totaljobs Employment Index (TEI) report.

Our July edition shone a spotlight on jobseeker concerns over finding a job post-referendum, revealing:

  • 44% of all candidates believe there will be more competition for jobs following the EU referendum
  • 28% say that Brexit has already had an impact on their job search
  • 34% are worried about their job security as a result of Brexit

What does this mean for recruiters?

The impact of Brexit could lead to a fundamental change in the role of the recruiter. Working in an uncertain market is difficult on two fronts. Firstly, nervous candidates can be less likely to leave their current roles and secondly, employers, whose budgets may be under increasing scrutiny, will err on the side of caution with regards to taking on new hires.

For many employers, this uncertainty is manifesting itself in inactivity and silence. Indeed, our latest research shows that almost three-quarters (72%) of employees say they have not been spoken to by their employer about the impact of Brexit.

What’s more:

  • Just 18% of employees said their employers had talked to them about the impact of the Brexit vote on the business they work in
  • And only 1 in 10 have been spoken to about the impact of Brexit on them personally

This shows that recruiters could play an increasingly important role in keeping both candidates and clients updated on the changing facts and legal implications of Brexit, and flowing from this, the impact it will have on job security.

How will the role of the recruiter change?

1.Provide information to candidates

Candidates’ concerns may stem from fears over what Brexit will mean for their future if they join a new company. Their worries here could centre around issues such as changes to employment contracts and clauses on being forced to move overseas, or the financial impact on their lives if salaries are frozen or redundancies occur. The recent news around the Human Rights Act may have added further worry, whether justified or not. By keeping up to date with the impact that Brexit will have on employment and contract law, plus having a clear idea of your client’s approach to the economic situation (even if that’s simply, they are planning no immediate changes) you will be in a good position to reassure candidates of any concerns.

Brexit is a fast moving situation. News is emerging on an almost daily basis. As it’s revealed what ‘vote leave’ will really mean for employers and their employees, you will need to be ready to digest legislative changes quickly and discuss them with clients or internal stakeholders and candidates.

2.Calm nerves

There’s no getting away from Brexit. And for those who stand to be directly affected, feeling concerned is understandable. The reality is that recruiters are already well versed in helping people navigate a difficult and stressful time of their life – changing careers. You can use this experience to play a very reassuring role in candidates’ lives and work with them.

At this stage, there is of course a limit to how much you can do to immediately answer candidates’ concerns. Until further government and EU legislation is announced, it will be a case of trying to steady the ship and continue with business as usual so that clients can still attract top talent.

3.Think outside the box

Brexit’s impact will span industries, functions and borders. Further to this, some sectors will need extra resource to prepare the business for the impending changes. Recruiters that think creatively, and try to pre-empt where clients might need extra capacity as legislation changes, will prove to be an invaluable asset.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay 

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