The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Challenges Recruiters Will Face Once Brexit Workforce Exodus Hits the UK Job Market


Brexit has been a major news source for people who are interested in business and financial markets ever since the surprise referendum result last June. There were lots of questions about how Britain leaving the EU would work from a practical point of view, and these were in many ways answered with the announcement in January that the UK would leave the single market as well as the European Union. This has had a big effect on businesses and share indices already, but what does it mean for people whose focus is on the labour market?

brexitA New Landscape for Recruiters

For recruiters, this has some important effects. It means that people who previously had the freedom to come to the UK and work from other EU member states may not, and while we do not yet know what hoops people who want to work in the UK will have to jump through because we don’t know what the new immigration rules will be, we do know that things are going to change. At present, as a member of the EU, recruiters can easily search for people who meet their vacancies’ criteria from anywhere in the union, and know that it will be possible for people from outside of the UK to accept the jobs if offered without lots of paperwork – because they would be entitled to move to the UK and work there. After Brexit this will of course change, and recruiters will have to start considering EU citizens as people who would need to be imported with visa considerations currently are people from the US, Asia, and other parts of the world that undeniably have lots of rich talent to recruit.

A New Focus on Homegrown Talent

One of the things that will happen in recruitment post Brexit is that we will have to start considering people from the UK as better prospects than people from other countries, because hiring them will simply be easier for businesses who form the client base for most recruiters. This will undoubtedly have an impact, as we begin to see a focus on what we can get from our existing national talent pool, rather than from a pan-European one. As you might expect, this means less people to choose from, but it does also mean that searches can be more focused as there are less people vying for each vacancy.

Recruiting Outside of the UK

While it is nice to think that recruiters will be able to simply fill roles from a smaller talent pool of UK residents, this clearly won’t be the case – we have skills gaps in lots of industries and as recruiters we have to use immigration to make up for this. What will change in recruiters’ roles is that they will need to understand what the new immigration laws are, and be able to advise applicants on them. At present, somebody with a Chinese, Pakistani or American passport has different considerations when you want to bring them in to your company than someone with a German or French one. Post Brexit, we will have to know how to advise companies to sponsor foreign people far more, as where there are gaps in what we can provide British people for, we will need to be able to entice workers from overseas and not make the transition difficult for them.

There are lots of things that will change in the work market after Brexit but the key thing for recruiters is to learn and understand the new laws when they are formed.