How Brexit Could Change the Employment Market

We round up everything we know so far…

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, virtually every part of our lives has come under scrutiny. Politicians, business leaders and everyday citizens are trying to piece together what the United Kingdom will look like once we leave, and how the NHS, supplies, migration laws and, perhaps most importantly, our economy, will function.

The truth is that until we leave the European Union with or without a deal, we can do little but speculate as to how our employment market may look. However, below, we’ve put together everything we know so far, and give you some tips on how best to prepare for every eventuality.

Increased competition for top talent

As tighter restrictions are placed on EU citizens working in the UK, we’ll no doubt see an increased competition for top talent – both from UK businesses, and businesses around the world. Indeed, the UK is already a net exporter when it comes to talent , with Brits choosing to take on roles in other countries. If UK businesses cannot remain competitive and offer generous salaries, we’ll likely see more UK professionals leave the country to live and work overseas.

However, UK professionals with international ambitions have always considered Europe as a ‘stepping stone’, given how easy it is to relocate to countries in the European Union. Following Brexit, the barrier could stop people from choosing to work in Europe, and instead try their luck in countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. If you want to get ahead of others and choose the most lucrative career path, relocation may be a sensible option.

According to LinkedIn, 96% of hiring strategies have already been impacted by Brexit , and 44% of recruiters feel that working in the UK is becoming a less attractive option. What’s more, 22% of UK engineering firms and 42% of UK aviation firms have said that labour shortages would be their biggest challenge in the next five years, with a lack of homegrown skilled talent.

If you’re a skilled professional in the UK, then that’s good news – employers will be more likely to up their compensation packages, offer training and development, and you’ll have more freedom to find a company that suits your needs. However, if firms cannot fill their skills gaps, they may relocate to countries in the European Union or further afield, which could limit your prospects.

Businesses reliant on EU trade could suffer

If you work in an industry where businesses rely on EU trade deals and the free movement of talent, like the engineering industry, for example, then your career could be affected. Businesses in the financial sector, in tourism, and in manufacturing trade with the EU are expected to be hit the hardest, with SSMT reporting that EU tariffs on cars alone could add least an annual £2.7 billion to imports and £1.8 billion to exports. Companies like Toyota have warned that car prices will go up in the event of a no-deal Brexit , while BMW has already announced plans to close its Mini plant for a month post-Brexit to minimise the impact of supply disruptions.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Some businesses, like Dyson, are welcoming Brexit and say that a no-deal would ‘not change anything’. So, as a professional working in engineering, it really depends on your role, your skills and experience, and who your organisation trades with.

Foreign investment could fall

Half of all Foreign Direct Investment stock in the UK comes from the European Union, and after Brexit, higher trading costs and tariffs will no doubt decrease investments within the country. A report from the Centre of Economic Performance suggests that leaving the EU will see foreign investments fall by at least 22%, although that figure could be changed if the UK leaves the EU with a free trade agreement. At present, foreign investment is critical to businesses in science, IT and engineering, and these industries will no doubt be hit by a reduction in EU funding.

Mike Galsworthy, the co-founder of Scientists for EU, has said that a no-deal Brexit will “betray British science” and that “with more than £500m a year at stake, the scale of losses to UK research from no-deal is becoming clear”. The government has, however, announced that it will continue to secure funding through EU programmes until the end of 2020. The pharmaceutical industry could also be affected by changing healthcare regulations, with 40% of professionals in the healthcare industry concerned that changes could have an impact on drug development.

Those working in privately-funded science roles should have little to worry about, but if your job is funded for directly by grants from the European Union, then it may be time to start looking at your options and look for job vacancies within your niche so you have something to fall back on.

New opportunities could arise

Should the UK lose trading partners in Europe, companies and the government will scramble to secure deals with other countries, including China, the United States and Australia. The GREAT campaign is already working to expand UK businesses in international markets, whilst IT opens more opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, with 58,000 tech start-ups launching in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the past year alone.

Brexit also offers medium-term employment for business analysts, with new Brexit-related jobs opening in the capital as businesses look to find strategies to future-proof their organisations.Wrapping up

Brexit will no doubt shake up the employment market, but there are things that you can do to protect your career. Add new strings to your bow, be prepared for change and start looking for stable, long-term employment. If you’re ready to find a new role, consider working with Ripple Recruit. We specialise in IT and scientific recruitment in Reading and further afield, so get in touch today on 0118 370 4634 to find out more. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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