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How will Brexit affect recruitment?

Danny Brooks, CEO of VHR


With just six months to go until the UK leaves the European Union, and no deal yet in place, 61% of employers are worried about leaving the EU. How will Brexit affect UK recruitment?


How will Brexit affect hiring candidates?


Although 25% of UK businesses currently employ staff from the EU, an August 2018 survey reveals that over 50% UK business leaders would be put off employing someone from the EU after Brexit changes the UK’s immigration laws.


Recruiting EU nationals currently working in the UK – In July the Home Office published the new mandatory registration scheme for EU nationals. After Brexit occurs on 29th March 2019, all 3.8 million EU nationals living in the UK and EU nationals wanting to enter the UK will need to register for ‘settled status’ to continue to work and live in the UK. Settled status, with its supporting technology still in the testing phase, aims to protect the rights and jobs of EU nationals currently working in the UK, but what about recruiting EU nationals after Brexit?


Recruiting EU nationals after Brexit – From 1st July 2021, EU citizens and any family members living with them must hold or have applied for UK immigration status to legally work in the UK. This new status could present a challenge for hiring managers and recruiters, who may have to adapt candidate selection processes to comply with new editions of immigration law in the next three years. The new status will require UK businesses to adopt a longer-term talent attraction strategy that either focuses on existing UK-based talent pools or accommodates the required time and resources to bring EU nationals to work in the UK for the first time.


Increased skills shortages – The effects of Brexit could be further exacerbated by existing UK skills shortages across industries. In Q4 2017, 22% of UK engineering business leaders and 42% of UK aviation industry leaders identified a labour shortage as the most urgent challenge they will face in the next five years. Global demand for aviation skills alone is set to overtake supply by 2027, and with skilled candidates already under-represented amongst a rapidly reducing workforce, skills shortages will become an increasingly dominant UK business issue.


Increased need for marketing and talent attraction – In May 2018, LinkedIn reported that 96% of hiring strategies had already been impacted by Brexit. The same study found that 44% of recruiters believe that working in the UK is becoming a less attractive prospect to EU citizens, with 39% seeing international candidates who are reluctant to move to London.


How can we mitigate against the effects of Brexit on recruitment?


Retain existing workforces – To protect against the possibility of losing employees who are EU citizens, business leaders can ensure employees are aware of their eligibility to apply for British citizenship or settled status before Britain leaves the EU and communicate the specific details and urgency of registering for settled status.


Build UK-based skills from wider talent pools – As 67% of UK graduates say that they now work in a role completely unrelated to their degree and 1 in 3 graduates are unhappy in their current job, fewer young people than ever are getting into apprenticeships and joining industries such as manufacturing, engineering, aerospace and automotive. VHR’s divisional director and aviation recruitment specialist, Ryan Abbot, advises on the UK skills shortage, “In a globally connected world where students are bombarded with choices, we need to shout louder to reach potential talent who are unaware of what our industries can offer. Business leaders and recruiters can partner with colleges and schools to directly engage with students and show them the variety of successful careers open to them across UK industries.”


Outsource from non-EU countries – The world is rich with talent just waiting to be found. Depending on local labour laws and specific remits, business leaders could turn their recruitment strategies towards candidates based outside the EU and secure the expat workers needed for business growth and success. VHR ethically recruits skilled and experienced candidates across 45 countries and four continents – find out more.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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