How Will Brexit Affect Employment in the UK?

It has been just under a month since the UK voted to leave the EU, and there are signs of stability on the horizon. Following up on my previous blog, I’ll answer some of the questions we’ve received about Brexit in the last 2 weeks.

What has changed over the last 2 weeks?

There has been a rapid calming of the political scene in the past 2 weeks with Theresa May becoming prime minister and forming a new cabinet of people who backed Brexit to deal with the majority of the details.

As we have seen, politics can have a huge effect on the economy – so it’s great to feel like we are getting back to a stable government with a defined plan – Brexit or not. May has said “Brexit means Brexit” which pretty much puts to bed idea of second referendum, so we must deal with the reality of leaving the EU.

This new government is basically setting up now to leave the EU. Now we know it’s going to happen, whether or not people sign a petition to stop it, it’s important for people in business (and in fact all aspects of life) to make good plans on what exactly they should be doing. In recruitment terms - how they should be hiring or looking at getting new jobs. Hopefully more stability will follow.

Will there be a rise in unemployment when we leave EU?

It’s hard to say. The market feedback that we have received is that there has been no slackening of the pace, other than putting a few jobs on hold, but we have also seen new jobs coming on the market. In the short term the market is running as before.

We have very high employment levels in the UK which is based on our successful economy. If you listen to “remainers” this is because of the EU, if you listen to “leavers”, it would be because we are the UK and we have performed well as a country regardless.

The rise of unemployment would occur as a result of the economy not doing well post Brexit, but politicians are going out of their way to make sure they get the very best deal for the UK. What we feel is important for business is people being positive and maintaining positive voices. If there is a lot of negativity and putting jobs on hold, you are essentially talking yourself into a recession. Speaking from this positive state of mind, the employment may even rise as less EU nationals move to the UK, therefore opening jobs up to the existing British population.

There have been reports that we may lose 550k jobs by 2020 – what can I do to ensure this doesn’t happen to me? 

This is an absolute worst case scenario. There has been no massive drop-off straight away so we hope this will be a continuing trend. In fact, according to Adzuna, following Brexit there was a 6.3% decline in job postings, but the week after, commencing 2nd July, saw a 16% rise.

I like working in start-up environments. Would I be better off moving country?

That’s probably entirely unnecessary. We already have a great economic environment for start-ups, so it should be something the government is keen to continue.

There’s been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about the October budget (Phillip Hammond’s first as chancellor) which could aim to open the UK up as a truly dynamic entrepreneurial society as a defence against Brexit worries. It would include cuts for corporate tax, more benefits for start-ups and capital investment in large UK infrastructure projects like Heathrow. These all require new business and make us more competitive with like-minded business environments such as Ireland or Singapore.

The government has also delayed its commitment to austerity to balance the books and to free up the flow of money into the economy from the state – the sort of environment that should be very positive for start-ups.

We advise to wait and see to see what the government will do. We believe there will be a drive to introduce incentives that encourage new SMEs and start-ups, and to maintain the great environment we have for the existing ones.

I’ve heard some people are looking to get Irish passports to move there for work. Is this a good idea?

Supposedly 10% of Brits could apply for an Irish passport – which would be quite an exodus!

I would probably consider it to be panicking if you moved to Ireland strictly based on Brexit. However, as we know from our Irish office, there is a huge demand for skilled workers in Ireland – so if you can get both passports why not – it could really help you in the future, not only for work but travel too.


Next time: How Will Brexit Affect my Business?

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