Will Brexit be bad news for recruitment?

The referendum is almost upon us and the debate is heating up. The choice of whether to stay in the EU or leave is looking like it’s dividing the country. But the big question is whether Britain would be better off out of the EU. We’re focusing on the recruitment industry in particular.

Service provider for the recruitment industry, Simplicity in Business conducted a poll that shows 2 in 5 (42%) recruitment business owners are in favour of staying in the EU. 37% were undecided, while only 21% would want to vote to leave.

The high percentage of those unsure is testament to the unclear, poorly explained reasons for the vote. We hope to provide a little clarity below.

Global mobility

Brexit could hinder those working overseas in EU countries. This depends on the restrictions Britain would put on it’s own borders but could mean Brits working in EU countries will have much less flexibility, they may have to organise visas, or possibly return to Britain.

This works against us on the other end too. So many top businesses from the EU are working within Britain. This is being called the UK brain drain, with some fearing that there will be a draining of top talent and top businesses leaving the UK.

Despite this there are also many people who believe Britain could withstand this. Our companies and talent are strong enough to keep up to date in the fields of technology, finance and creative media. Some say Brexit could be key in stimulating growth in the UK job market.

Finding skills

Over 2 million EU citizens are living and working within the UK. Many are positioned in lower paid jobs, supporting the workforce from the bottom. Whereas many others are providing vital skills in important technical industries.

On one hand, skills exiting Britain will open up the job market for skilled British workers, however if these skills cannot be filled this leaves many companies will find themselves in a situation whereby they will be paying increasing costs to find the right talent. Plus the EU working restrictions will mean longer, costly hiring processes to bring on overseas workers.

In an open letter to David Cameron in March, signatories argued: “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. Britain will be strong, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU.”

Away from bureaucracy

‘Brexit’ brings up the subject of legislations and employment laws. Some suggest that leaving the EU would loosen the strings and red table around these laws. Boris Johnson supports Britain’s leave of the EU with the comment that the union represents “A slow and invisible process of legal colonisation, as the EU infiltrates just about every area of public policy.”

However, the EU has helped to shape some important legislation that aims to protect British workers. This includes discrimination, family leave right, working time regulations and health and safety regulations. This doesn’t mean that if we leave the EU we will lose these, the EU was certainly not the only reason these laws are in place, and in some areas UK laws go beyond what’s required by the EU so the impact Brexit would have on UK employment is unclear.

Whatever the coming referendum brings, a rise in questions across the UK is inevitable. There is so much that is still unknown at the moment, it feels like this country is making decisions based on little knowledge of what the future might hold. If we leave, the EU will still be an incredible important in terms of recruitment and trade, and so we as a country will likely keep strong bonds with the EU.

We can only wait and see what the next few weeks bring.

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