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One-in-Three UK Workers Fear Brexit will Harm Career Prospects

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Perceptions of job opportunities in the UK cooled over the last quarter with 30 per cent of workers fearing that Britain leaving the European Union will have a negative impact on their careers. According to CEB (NYSE: CEB), a best practice insight and technology company, employees’ mistrust of their leaders and managers is undermining loyalty and restricting growth.

CEB’s Global Talent Monitor indicates that employees’ trust and confidence in their employers has started to erode. Rising to the highest levels in 24 months, 71 per cent of workers are doubting their senior leaders’ reputations and 73 per cent have negative perceptions of their company’s approach to people management. This increase in employee dissatisfaction correlates to the fact that just 27 per cent of the workforce believe their leaders are doing enough to help them understand the business impact of Brexit.

Commenting on the data, Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB, says:

“The unpredictability of Brexit negotiations and the perceived slowdown in business is weighing heavy on the workforce and causing a breakdown in trust and confidence. Understandably, employees are nervous about their future and their career prospects. But the growing tensions between leaders and their employees is creating challenges with loyalty and productivity.”

Despite job-seeking activity slowing by two per cent in the UK, levels of intent to stay dipped slightly, indicating that more workers are considering their next job move. In fact, almost one-in-five (18 per cent) workers report they have started looking for a new job because of the Brexit vote.

Findings from CEB also shows that those companies losing employee trust have fewer workers going above and beyond. In the UK, levels of discretionary effort have remained static over the last year with the majority of the workforce (41 per cent) doing just enough to get by. Employees want to work hard but a communication breakdown between leaders and the workforce means that 71 per cent of workers are unknowingly misdirecting their effort toward the wrong activities.

Kropp continued:

“We’ve seen a huge performance drag caused by political, economical and organisational uncertainty. If leaders want to rebuild trust and keep workers engaged and productive, they need to set expectations that change is the new normal. And rather than going underground to formulate a “battle plan,” leaders should talk openly about business challenges despite not having all the answers. By having a conversation strategy, not just a communication strategy, more employees can understand the company direction and feel included in change. This in turn makes them feel less anxious about the future.”

CEB data show the lack of future career opportunity is the top factor for driving people away from their jobs, with 42 per cent highlighting this shortcoming in their organisation. Lack of recognition and poor people management were also raised, showing the importance of trusted leadership for keeping people in seat.

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from CEB’s larger Global Labour Market Survey which is made up of more than 20,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. Visit www.cebglobal.com/talentmonitor to learn more and compare talent data from around the world.