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UK SMEs increasingly worried about Brexit’s impact on recruitment decisions, Adecco reveals

The Adecco Group has published its Ready, Steady, Brexit paper, which highlights SMEs’ growing concern about the talent challenges ahead.

The number of SMEs who don’t expect future immigration policy to affect their organisation has dropped from 49% in autumn 2018, to 39% now (winter 2018/19). It’s the first time since the Adecco Group’s Brexit tracker started that this number has been under 40%.

However, due to SMEs’ size, they are often more agile and nimble, contributing to their advantage over larger businesses when it comes to adapting and changing. This means they can offer more tailored, and flexible roles for employees. This will stand them in good stead no matter what the outcome of Brexit is, as they will be able to continue to attract talent.

The top tip offered by the report implores SMEs to be clear about who they are: Being able to effectively communicate what they do, and what they are looking for will give them an edge over competition.

Johnny Luk, head of policy and strategy at the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, commented, “The continued uncertainty around Brexit is hitting SMEs hard. They don’t yet know enough to plan ahead. This has led to action paralysis, especially as most of the discussion has centred around big business, but very little in the way of SMEs. As SMEs form the backbone of the UK economy, once more clarity emerges it’s important that they are able to act fast on any changes and capitalise on opportunities; this will be key to executing any post-Brexit strategy.”

The report goes on to offer more tips to help SMEs attract, retain, and train talent through the continued uncertainty. One such tip is being about to take advantage of technology, which can help to foster professional and personal development.

Being able to communicate to, and help ease the worries of your staff will be critical in the post-Brexit landscape. Other considerations that SMEs should make include widening their talent net and helping their employees to upskill and grow as necessary. This could mean, for example, hiring people who perhaps don’t have a degree, but relevant experience instead who can learn on the job.

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