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Preparing for Brexit

Lorna Davidson, CEO of RedWigWam

With the UK due to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, the recruitment industry is being warned to be prepared.

The short-term jobs market is already struggling, with a drop in the number of Eastern Europeans who have traditionally filled many of the more low-paid roles in areas such as hospitality and farming.

Over the last year, the number of EU nationals working in the UK has fallen by 86,000 to 2.28 million – the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.

It’s hard to know exactly how Brexit will affect the recruitment industry as a whole. However, the UK jobs market is currently very strong, with the highest employment rate on record. The key for any recruiter is to put a plan in place – and be prepared.

Official figures reveal there has been a decline in the number of workers from the eight East European countries that joined the EU in 2004, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

The number of these workers fell by 117,000 between April to June 2017 and the same period this year, to reach 0.88million, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, this figure was partially offset by an increase in the number of workers from Romania and Bulgaria – which both joined the EU in 2007. There were 391,000 of these EU2 nationals working in the UK in April to June 2018 – 54,000 more than a year earlier.

It’s probably the sectors most reliant on EU workers that will struggle – but that’s where a short-term recruitment agency can step in to help. At RedWigWam we have a huge community of workers who are ready to get started. If hirers are prepared to work with us to install a degree of flexibility into their roles, we’re confident we’ll be able to fill them.

Using hospitality as an example, we already provide staff for a number of clients all over the UK. Often in this industry, the hirer doesn’t know the exact number of staff they need until the last minute. To manage this, we’ve developed our ‘On the bench’ system, meaning they book the maximum number of staff they will need, and then confirm exact numbers 24-48 hours before the event. It allows the recruiter a greater degree of flexibility.

We have more than 65,000 workers looking for flexible work. They come from a variety of backgrounds – they include students, parents and retirees – and all have one thing in common: they want to earn extra money through jobs that fit in with their lives.

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