What does Brexit mean for employers?

What does Brexit mean for employers?

With the news this week that Article 50 will be triggered on 29th March, negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union are imminent. For almost all businesses, the outcome of these talks will be of great importance to them; especially so for those who operate internationally or rely on an international workforce.

What are the possible outcomes?

The free movement of people was one of the biggest concerns for those who voted ‘Leave’, so it very likely this will be stopped once negotiations are complete. The biggest risk associated with this will be a probable shortage of labour for employers, including a shortage of skilled workers.

The other implication falls on employers who have posted UK workers in EU countries. Their right to work in those countries may well be revoked, possibly replaced with other legislation - although this is yet to be determined.

What can you do?

While the shortage of labour is likely to impact employers, it also gives them the opportunity to attract candidates struggling to enter the workforce, such as returning mothers and young people. Implementing more attractive benefits, including flexible working and clear progression opportunities, can also boost your candidate pool while making you a more competitive employer.

The shortage of skilled workers in STEM industries is already an issue which is affecting UK businesses, so will no doubt be exacerbated by Brexit. Offering training opportunities to employees can help to develop the next wave of workers, and provides a way to ‘future proof’ your workforce’s skillset.

Many businesses are already offering their EEA employees assistance, from offering specialist immigration assistance, to supporting such applications. Not only does this sort of guidance help to guard from an outpouring of staff, it also builds your employer brand, bolsters employee relations and staff loyalty.

Not all doom and gloom?

Some businesses are reaping the rewards from the vote last summer, with those who export internationally finding sales are booming due to a lower pound. Other organisations, including Nissan, have committed to keeping and creating jobs over here for the foreseeable future.

Although we won’t know the full implications until negotiations are complete, by beginning preparation early, businesses can limit the effect of Brexit on their workforce and perhaps prosper from it too.

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Date: 21/03/2017
Author: Aisha Hawkes

About the author:

Head of Marketing


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