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Brexit and Employment – The implications for the job market

Published: Friday 7th December 2018


Chess board with a union jack pawn and euro pawnIndependent think-tank, UK in a Changing Europe, has published a report that suggests Brexit could cause the UK economy to contract by 5.5% by 2030. The study assumes that, under the terms of Brexit, the UK leaves the single market, resulting in regulatory barriers to goods, services, and staff coming in and out of the country. In an event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the report indicates that the impact would be worse still. It’s all conjecture at this stage, but what is clear, whatever happens, the UK job market and recruitment will be affected in some way.

Female employee sulking, looking at floor. arrow fallingEmployers are cautious

The reality is, the effects are already being seen in the job market. The average UK advertised salaries have a fallen for three consecutive months up to September 2018 and full-time vacancies are down 7% from the same time last year.

Another survey produced by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) found that organisations were placing greater emphasis on the development of existing staff and being more cautious when recruiting. At the same time, some organisations feel they will find it difficult to attract senior employees or those with skills in demand, due to a lack of talent coming into the country. 56% of employers report difficulties filling vacancies, up from 40% in 2015. However, these skills shortages vary depending on the sector.

European flagLess competition from abroad

While this might be a good thing for UK based candidates facing competition from abroad when trying to move up the career ladder, there’s the added problem that some companies are transferring operations out of the UK. One in ten private sector firms are considering relocating their businesses elsewhere in the EU with Ireland, Germany, and France being the most popular destinations, so jobs will leave too.

The number of Eastern Europeans working in the UK has already fallen sharply this year with 91,000 leaving the job market. Clearly, many of these workers are returning home to work in their native countries and leaving vacancies behind, so it’s worth doing some research to see how that affects the job market in your chosen discipline.

However, if you are happy in your current role and not looking to move, then you might see some opportunities for training and development open up: almost a quarter of employers expect training expenditure to increase in the next year.

What does it all mean for your job search?

All in all, the Brexit scenario is still very uncertain. Whatever happens, the result will be opportunities, as well as setbacks for the recruitment market. At the moment, Brexit news change almost daily, so what will actually happen is anyone’s guess, but one thing you can be sure of is that the best career opportunities in the UK will still be found at Zoek. Right now, we’ve just added new jobs in Sussex, jobs in Oxford, jobs in Glasgow and jobs in Essex, so if you’re looking for your next career move in the months leading up to Brexit, the best place to start your search is right here.

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