Employers fearful over access to skills as the UK inches closer to Brexit

Employers across the UK remain unsure of the impact Brexit will have on employment, with two-fifths (40%) concerned that Brexit will decrease their ability to access talent and skills, according to new research released by recruiting experts, Hays.

The survey of over 31,500 respondents found that although 80% of employers said Brexit has had no impact on their recruitment over the past year, many remain apprehensive about the effect Brexit will have on already exacerbated skills shortages.

The research shows a north-south divide with regards to how businesses anticipate access to skills and talent will be impacted. Employers in London, the South, Scotland and Northern Ireland believe Brexit will impact their organisation’s ability to access talent and skills, more so than employers in the North East, North West and the Midlands. Over half (52%) of employers in London expect Brexit to decrease their access to talent, followed by 49% in Scotland and 43% in Northern Ireland. In contrast, only 23% of employers in the North East believe this will be the case.

The survey also shows differing concerns across industries as three-fifths (60%) of employers of science and research professionals believe the ability to access talent will decrease, compared to just under a third (30%) of employers in the construction industry. 

Attraction of talent from EU is also a concern for employers

Close to two-thirds of employers (63%) believe Brexit will decrease their ability to attract talent from the EU, with a quarter (25%) expecting it to significantly decrease. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of organisations in Northern Ireland predict their ability to attract EU talent will decrease, followed by 69% of employers in Scotland and 68% of employers in London.

A post-Brexit outcome for UK employment is still unclear

Overall, whilst 41% of employers believe a post-Brexit outlook for UK employment will be negative, close to the same amount (40%) are unsure of what effect Brexit will have on the employment market. Less than a fifth (19%) of employers believe the outcome will be positive.

Over half (52%) of employers in procurement believe the outlook will be negative, alongside half of employers in both marketing and banking sectors. In contrast, only 27% of construction employers believe the impact will be negative.

The survey found that over a third (35%) of staff believe Brexit will have no impact on their future employment opportunities and a fifth of respondents (20%) are unsure of the impact.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, comments:

“It’s evident from our research that whilst a good proportion of employers believe the outlook for UK employment will be negative post-Brexit, there is still some cause for optimism given that the majority of employers say the prospect of Brexit hasn’t yet impacted their recruitment. The time lag following the referendum has undoubtedly impacted this. The employers we work with realised that they can’t put off hiring indefinitely and even now they are continuing to hire where there is a specific need and to support their investment in technology.

Whatever post-Brexit UK looks like, employers will need a competitive approach to attracting and retaining talent. The uncertainty impacts candidates too and some of the top talent will be more reluctant to move. They’ll need to look to untapped talent pools, be innovative with their hiring approaches and make sure they are offering the right salaries to attract people and combat the uncertainty that is likely to linger. Taking a savvy approach remains essential because it remains competitive for top talent.”

Author: Editorial Team

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