October 25, 2018

Brexit & The Jobs Market

First, we need to tell you where we are on Brexit so that this blog has some context – We haven’t got a clue. And that’s OK, because we’re not alone.

Theresa May hasn’t got a clue, nor has anyone in her Cabinet or government. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab? He hasn’t got a clue either. The Opposition or the Lib-Dems? Nope. The Spitting Image-caricatures that are Rees-Mogg, Farage and Johnson most certainly don’t have a clue and the great British public who voted for it are top of the list of groups of people who haven’t got a clue.

But don’t worry, we’re in the majority. In fact there are probably only 20 people in the world who understand the unbelievable complexity of this level of foreign policy, the nuance of the negotiations surrounding cross-border trade, the short, medium and long-term effects that Brexit will have on our relationships with the rest of Europe (and the world), the social impact on the country, the effects on imports and exports, on our agriculture and manufacturing industries, on the NHS and other public services, on the economy, on everything.

Ask the average person in the street to explain a hard Brexit, or a soft Brexit, or a no-deal Brexit, or a half-caff, double mocha, triple shot, whipped cream Brexit and they won’t be able to.


Because no-one can. We’ve already established that.

Only if you are a world-class economist do you become qualified to vote to leave or to remain with any degree of accuracy. None of us are. Hence why we’re in this mess.

To confirm, no-one has a clue about Brexit, what it is or why they voted the way they did and anyone who says they do is telling porkies.

That said, you may have noticed there’s been a fair amount of press coverage about it. The coverage falls down on both sides of an argument no-one understands but we’re in recruitment so naturally, our focus is the effects of Brexit – in whatever form it may or may not eventually take – on the jobs market.


So, The Jobs Market & Brexit. What’s Going To Happen?


Blimey. Do we need to go through all that again? We’ve already established that no-one knows.

Back in January, the Guardian reported that ‘a no-deal Brexit could cause the UK to lose half a million jobs and nearly £50bn in investment by 2030, according to an economic forecast commissioned by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.’

The report was undertaken by Cambridge Econometrics (different from data-scrapers Cambridge Analytics) who predicted that a no-deal Brexit could cost the capital alone almost 90,000 jobs.

Dr Ralf Speth, the former CEO of the world’s largest industrial gas company Linde AG and current CEO of Jaguar Land Rover went one step – actually about 3,000 steps – further. He said in no uncertain terms that in the event of a hard Brexit, plants would close and there would be major job losses and he offered a stark warning to many exposed industries, suggesting they would have ‘no way to survive.’ He claims his own company would be affected to the tune of £1.2 billion a year, effectively wiping out profits.

This was countered by Tory Brexiter Bernard Jenkin who accused Speth of plucking numbers from thin air, suggesting that people no longer believed the ‘scaremongers’. What he actually said was ‘I’m afraid I think he’s making it up. We’ve had figures made up all the time by the scaremongers in this debate, and I’m afraid nobody believes them.’

See. Told you no-one knows what they’re talking about.


On The Basis No-one Knows What’s Going To Happen, What Actually Is Happening?


Peter Linas, EVP Corporate Development & International at Bullhorn can at least put some numbers behind the uncertainty.

The UK job market is in a state of flux. He writes that ‘Recruiters are under immense pressure to help their clients find the talent they need – but many of the traditional ‘tried and tested’ methods aren’t delivering results. A recent LinkedIn study shows that the biggest challenges facing recruiters are talent availability and business uncertainty.’

He goes on to say that recruiters are having to essentially set themselves up as consultants in order to stay competitive and profitable. They are advising companies on how to revise specific roles, benefits and remuneration packages to make themselves more attractive to overseas applicants as well as helping clients and candidates navigate their way through the turbulent waters of Brexit uncertainty.

  • In the most recent Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD, the number of EU-born workers in the UK has fallen by 95% year-on-year
  • A LinkedIn study from April 2018 indicates that recruitment companies are seeing a decrease in demand for their services from core European markets including France (35%), Germany (35%), Italy (37%), the Netherlands (32%) and Spain (29%)
  • According to LinkedIn, 39% of recruiters have found EU candidates are increasingly reluctant to move to the UK in general, and to London in particular
  • 96% of HR professionals and recruiters say Brexit is having an impact on their hiring strategies – with almost half (46%) seeing a ‘big’ or ‘huge’ impact
  • The industries facing the biggest impact on hiring as a result of Brexit are healthcare (13%), manufacturing (11%), construction (11%), education (11%), banking and finance (11%) and retail (10%)
  • The biggest challenges according to recruiters are availability of talent (40%), business uncertainty (38%), reluctance of candidates to move to the UK (36%) and competition from international businesses (28%)


What Are We Doing?


While these numbers might be a little unsettling, there’s still plenty that we can do but it involves a bit of lateral thinking.

Liquid director Paul Sherman was more upbeat and positive about the state of the market: ‘We’re busier than we’ve ever been at both ends of the market but that’s not to say there isn’t some caution in the air. Right now, there does seem to be more candidates than there are available roles but that’s nothing more than a cyclical process. Sometimes there are more jobs than people to fill them. The dictionary definition of swings and roundabouts.’

He went on to say that ‘businesses like ours that use state-of-the-art tech and a tried and tested process for the efficient delivery of our services stay alert. Brexit or no Brexit, we’re on the ball and our advice to clients and candidates is that if you’re thinking about  a new hire or a new role, don’t wait since no-one quite knows what they’re waiting for…’

One constant in this whole mess is the talent. It’s out there. It’s always been out there but we are now taking a fresh look at our existing candidate databases and reviewing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.

We’re looking at holistic workforce solutions and employment strategies that factor in social, political and economic change, the increasing reliance on social media and even redefining – or creating – new roles, over and above simply identifying talent and placing them.

We’re thinking smart and looking at our business with new, bold and diverse ways of doing things.

So, business as usual then…

Catch you soon.

The Liquid Team