What has happened over the last 2 weeks?
Over the last 2 weeks we have seen the beginning of the EU response to Brexit and the appointment of the chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, who will be dealing with the Brexit negotiations. This is slightly worrying, because Barnier is known to hold quite an anti-UK standpoint. When we leave the EU this could mean that the commission is prepared to be quite negative towards the UK, and make negotiations on our end tough.
However, the communications coming from certain countries such as Germany and The Netherlands is that they are still very willing to do business with the UK. The single market is the niggle point with these countries as they want us to still provide free movement of people through our borders. Another recent key argument from some individual states is that the EU should not be able to obtain any more power, although this is being pushed by EU parliament in wake of Brexit.
We have seen some good industrial figures with regards to the GDP in June which was higher than expected, and a number of companies such as Boeing and McDonalds will be looking to hire here, maintaining a positive outlook on the UK economy regardless of Brexit.
It’s a mixed bag – good news in short term for the economy but there could be clouds overhead with regards to the long term negotiation prospects.
I own a business. Is this a good time to hire?
We have continued to see positivity in terms of hiring, so we feel by going out and hiring, pushing projects and investing, you will help the economy to survive any psychological blows. At GCS we are still busy – we have plenty of jobs on as our clients are still eager to get good talent into business. This demonstrates that it’s still a good time to hire as there are still good candidates seeking jobs, and a great time to contribute to the economy and continue being proactive and positive, which is what Britain’s economy needs.
Is there anything I can do to attract talent post Brexit?
People will be aware of the reliance of businesses’ easy access to the EU, so when acquiring talent you should be open to how your business is achieved and the plans in place which show you are robust in the current environment.
Whether or not your business is reliant on the EU will probably become a normal question which candidates will use to determine whether you can provide them a stable career, so ensure you are prepared. Keep speaking to employment lawyers, trade bodies and recruiters to understand if there are any changes to visas or anything else that may affect your candidates, and see if you can use any of the changes to your advantage when attracting talent. Stability will be the new buzz word in the recruitment world!
Which sectors are most likely to be hit hard?
Keeping the “passporting” privileges (that allow UK financial institutions access to the EU single market without restrictions) is extremely important for the Financial Services sector so that they can do business normally within the EU. Naturally, this is very important for London which is reliant on the sector.
While London is a global centre for finance, it is the European centre, so no longer being part of the EU could affect the economy due to not being able to conduct business as a euro centre.
The other sectors we deal with – technology and engineering, which are based around skills, innovation and global markets are the ones that will continue to perform well. If trade deals are done with other areas of the world instead of the EU, it could actually be extremely positive for those sectors and will boost local economies here.
What sort of businesses might thrive after the Brussels red tape is removed?
There is a lot of talk about manufacturers and industrial companies being able to export outside the EU more easily. At the moment the EU negotiates all trade agreements for us, whereas now we will be able to do this for ourselves, which will result in us exporting more successfully around the world.
Other areas that will certainly flourish in the short term are professional services, accounting and legal, which will all have huge amount of work to do as the UK disentangles its legal and financial ties with the EU.
Will employment laws change, or will Brexit affect the way I hire British staff?
The EU law with regards to employment has on many occasions been in opposition to the prevailing free market laws of the UK government. Items such as the working time directive have been driven by EU legislation, not the UK.
The question is whether we will move to more American style employment legislation, giving greater abilities to release staff and making it easier to employ contractors without employment risks, whilst giving less rights to workers.
While this may be positive news for employers, there will be a lot of civil opposition towards these changes because workers rights and protection is something that we’ve got used to from our time as part of the EU. Again this will be something that will be heavily negotiated in the coming years.
If you are interested in what will happen to your European staff, don’t forget to check out our previous blog in the series, otherwise stay tuned for the next in the series.