The Impact of Brexit on The Recruitment industry By Bridgette Hernandez
The UK was scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th. Having come and gone, there is certainly still upheaval, as the eventual outcome looms ever closer.
Prime Minister May can’t get her deal through Parliament. And at this point, the EU has provided a short extension for her to continue to try to get this vote, but it still looks unlikely to get through parliament.
Could Brexit still occur without a vote? Yes. Could Brexit be cancelled? Yes, the EU has provided that the UK could cancel Brexit up to the last minute, provided there was a Parliamentary vote to do so. This, however, does not appear likely. And there are those in Parliament who would prefer a no-confidence vote right now, regardless of Brexit issues.
Obviously, things are in a state of upheaval in the UK. But this current crisis has been two years in the making, as May has negotiated the terms of Brexit, and the uncertainties surrounding the full impact have weighed on a number of business sectors.
Whenever there is uncertainty in the political, social, or economic environments of a country, there are consequences. Businesses and people are hesitant to take major steps or make major changes until things “settle down.”
And this uncertainty has certainly impacted the ability of the recruitment industry to find talent and expertise outside of the UK and convince these individuals to uproot themselves, move to an uncertain business environment, and put their faith in the hope that all will be well.
According to a LinkedIn Quarterly Report on Recruiter Sentiment Survey, as reported in The Undercover Recruiter, 96% of those involved in HR or recruitment state that Brexit is negatively impacting their efforts to find skilled and talented people to fill open positions in the UK. And, in this report, 50% of respondents stated that they expected this impact to significantly grow in the months, and perhaps years, after Brexit goes into effect.
There are a number of specific circumstances affecting the recruitment industry – circumstances that they credit to the uncertainties of Brexit.
In short, UK job opportunities are far less attractive to international talented and qualified candidates. And the prospects for this changing are clearly up in the air. It is difficult to predict if and when the effects of Brexit will level out and candidates will again begin to see the UK as an attractive place to which to relocate and further their careers.
Because the ability to recruit internationally has suffered a decline, the internal labour market in the UK is tightening. Competition among businesses within the UK for local talent is high, and the pressure on companies to brand themselves as more attractive than their in-country competition has certainly increased. Companies will be forced into offering higher salaries, greater benefits, and other perks, in an effort to attract the talent they need. Of course, this provides an amazing environment for local talent that will be in a far better negotiating position than ever before. And recruiters will have to explain to their clients the realities of this new employment environment.
The recruitment industry is not about to succumb to the challenges that Brexit has wrought. Instead, they will “roll with these punches,” advise their clients on the best strategies, and continue to seek the talent that their clients need, both at home and abroad. They will become more aggressive.
But in advising their UK clients, there are some strategies that may prove critical.
Certainly, there are concerns about the economy of the UK once Brexit occurs. And the uncertainty is causing reticence among job seekers to make any major moves right now. It is also possible that some EU-based companies may withdraw, though not likely if they remain profitable and can continue to operate as usual. The bigger issue right now is political, and that uncertainty continues to impact everyone.
About the author
She has more than five years of experience writing on topics such as tech careers, gadgets, and software development. In her spare time, she competes in robotics projects and volunteers at a local animal rescue.
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Businesses in the hospitality sector have every right to be worried. At least a quarter of the 3 million people working in the hospitality industry are EU nationals, according to a report by KPMG. The sector is a labour-intensive contributor to the British economy and many hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes across the UK are already reporting that they are finding it harder to recruit staff.
At a time when the hospitality industry is actually doing quite well, could Brexit take many businesses in the sector from boom to bust? There’s little doubt that businesses in the sector will need to adapt. So, what can they do right now to fight the Brexit recruitment disruption?
The hospitality sector stands to face a shortfall of 60,000 workers per year. Post-Brexit recruitment in Britain’s fourth biggest industry is a key issue.
As well as the issue of recruitment, the hospitality sector also faces challenges with its supply chains. The Brexit-induced drop in the value of sterling has contributed to higher costs on imported produce. Businesses are already adapting their supply strategies, sourcing more foods produced in Britain. But, procurement planning is another big issue for hospitality.
As well as setting out plans for potential supply chain disruption, the industry needs to focus on building an engaged and motivated workforce without relying on immigrants from the EU. Improving employee engagement could prove part of the solution to the recruitment crisis.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), “employees who have good quality jobs and are managed well, will not only be happier, healthier and more fulfilled, but they are also more likely to drive productivity, better products or services and innovation.”
Employee engagement is a workplace approach focusing on the emotional commitment employees have to the organisation and business goals. It essentially drives the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs and the effort they put into their roles.
Employee engagement is important in all sectors, but it is more vital in the services and hospitality industries than in any other. In customer-driven sectors, staff are brand ambassadors. They are critical for creating a happy customer experience and improving customer loyalty.
Employees in hospitality roles are part of the lifeblood of the business. Brexit poses its challenges in the supply of labour. Existing employees will be faced with longer hours and have to work harder to fill the gaps. Employee engagement will help employees to feel they are appreciated and have a future in the organisation they are working in. It will also help uncover under-utilised skills.
High staff turnover is costly. It takes time and money to train a new recruit. It makes sense to invest in existing employees. Excessive turnover is disruptive and causes morale to plummet.
Last year, the uber-chic Firmdale Hotels group launched its Employee Engagement week. Without a guest in sight the group’s employees gathered across the group’s eight London hotels to network, upskill, learn and get enthused. The programme of events included inspirational talks, demos, information about company benefits, career advice and tips on building better relationships.
Speaking to hospitality magazine, The Caterer, Julia Murrell, director of people and development at Firmdale, said “I believe retention is driven around engagement. We have a diverse workforce so we have to think of new ideas all the time.”
Group operations manager, Anna Jackson, added, “We spend time on guest engagement, work on how to exceed expectations, how to turn that visit into a repeat stay, and we need to apply those principles to our team, too. We need to look at how we engage them from day one – make them feel special, understand their needs and meet those needs around every role and nationality, as we do with our guests. It is a people business after all.”
Employee engagement can’t be imposed. It’s all about creating a cultural shift. Here’s how:
Richard Branson says “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” In an industry with a high turnover it’s easy to become too focused on recruitment and forget about existing staff.
The hospitality sector has been heavily dependent on immigration. To weather the recruitment storm, hospitality businesses need to prioritise employee engagement and retention now more than ever. Hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars need to attract UK workers and keep them. Employee engagement is just a part of the answer for future-proofing the British hospitality landscape.
About the author
‘Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, Recruitment and career development’.
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