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Brexit and the UK Job Market

Published: Monday 7th October 2019

For some, Halloween this year will be scarier than ever. It’s the date that Boris Johnson says the UK will exit the EU – with or without a Brexit dealIt’s not too far away now, but what will the UK job market look like post-Brexit? 

BREXIT concept image of London image and UK and EU flags overlaid

Some industries will be hit more than others 

Predictions range vastly, because no one really knows what will happen between then and now, but what we do know is that certain sectors will feel the effects of Brexit more than others. The Independent, for instance, has compiled a report that shows there will be significant impacts for the tech companies, the car industry, pharma, chemicals and agriculture. Clearly, these impacts will have roll-on effect for UK jobs in these sectors. It will be harder for most UK companies to do business with firms in EU countries, so it will be more expensive too. With increased costs to do business, firms will have to cut back in areas such as recruitment – even if only for the short-term. 

Corporate business team and manager in a meeting

Challenges for businesses and recruiters 

Furthermore, labour mobility between the UK and the EU could change dramatically making it more difficult for companies and recruiters to source skills in demand. Already, recruitment agencies are seeing tech workers move from the UK to Ireland, largely as a result of multinationals transferring their operations to baseelsewhere to protect their businesses from the detrimental effects of Brexit. The resulting ‘Techxit’ effect will cause problems for smaller firms trying to source tech talentThe tech workforce is ageing and the UK education system isn’t creating enough skilled workers to replace them.  

SMEs make up around 99% of the UK job market and, currently, a high proportion of these are in the tech sector. Even so, many of these are reducing capital investment in the run-up to Brexit. That means no expansion and no new jobs.  

Hand is turning a dice and changes the expression "no job" to "new job"

Customs delays will cost businesses money disrupting the supply chain, especially in industries such as the automobile and aerospace sectors. Acquiring components from abroad will be just as difficult as exporting the finished productAs a result, it’s likely we’ll see more announcements from companies shifting production to outside the UK. In fact, half of UK exports will face disruption affecting industries that manufacture, produce and distribute goods.  

New legislation will be needed 

On a brighter note, once the UK leaves the EU, the R&D tax credit scheme currently operated by the government will not be subject to the ‘state aid cap’ that applies under EU rulesThe removal of EU regulation in areas such as this, means that the UK can conceivably introduce new legislation to help business and boost employment. 

Book with title employment law on a table

The UK is due to leave the EU at 11pm on 31st October, but it was due to leave much earlier. And, even at this late stage, UK Brexit news is evolving daily, so the situation could change dramatically yet again.  

For those worried about their job, Zoek will be here to help and should you be unlucky enough to find yourself out of work, you’ll find all the information you need to get back into the workplace in the Zoek information hub, as well as all the latest vacancies using our job search facility 

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