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Recruitment and HR Blog

BREXIT: HR professionals and employers - do we stay or do we go?

1st April 2016

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With so much information and opinions flying around, it can be hard to make sense of it all and the potential effects it could have on businesses. Below we have detailed how talk of a Brexit has already affected the UK jobs market, and the possible results of leaving the EU will have on recruitment. 

It’s effects already

According to the February Job Market report by job search engine Adzuna the recruitment sector had already started to stagnate in January, as concerns about the UK potentially leaving the European Union gripped the labour market. The study found that the amount of vacancies advertised fell by 7.3% since December 2015 to 1,079,711 in the January 2016. At the same time, the competition for the available roles increased as the number of candidates per role grew to 0.61 from 0.54 in December.

And the most recent study by Adzuna doesn’t show any signs of the jobs market recovering, with the number of job vacancies advertised in the UK down a total of 10.3% since November 2015. According to the study, employers’ eagerness to recruit new staff has cooled throughout the first quarter of 2016 due to the uncertainties in the jobs market, in particular with a potential Brexit and the impact of the National Living Wage being introduced.

This feeling from employers is supported by a CitySprint report, which surveyed over 1,000 small business owners, found that two thirds of SME’s felt the possibility of a Brexit was impacting on long-term growth plans and was the biggest uncertainly facing businesses this year, even more so than the issue of skills shortages.

The case for staying:

For employers and recruiters, one of the greatest concerns has to be the uncertainty over the freedom of movement and the threat that could bring to skill shortages. There are over two million European citizens living and working in Britain, who bring many skills to the employment market that many British citizens do not possess, in particular in the construction and engineering sectors. European citizens are also able and willing to undertake a lot of the low-skilled and low-paid jobs across the UK.

A potential exit from the EU could also leave businesses in the situation where skilled EU workers are forced to leave, which will lead to increased costs of training and recruiting British workers. This is supported by a CV Library study, which found that 43.2% of UK recruiters believe a Brexit will cause further skill shortages and reduce access to viable candidates.

The case for leaving:

Much of the UK’s employment rights are a direct result of EU legislation, something which employers supporting Brexit no doubt have serious concerns about, and hope that leaving the EU will lead to a reform of employment law. Many employers will see the employment laws set by the EU as constricting, such as the maximum 48-hour week and the fact that agency workers now have the same rights as full-time workers after 12 weeks of employment.

A poll conducted by Business for Britain has found that EU red tape was a real bugbear with SME’s across the UK, who feel that if the burden of regulation was reduced there would be benefits for both their businesses and their employees. The poll shows very clearly that if businesses faced less regulation, SME leaders would be more likely to employ more people, increase the pay of good staff, increase the amount of overtime available to staff, and keep staff on during tough times.

Do you think the UK should leave the EU? What effect do you think leaving will have on employers?

Drop us an email at or give us a call on 0844 967 4467.

Published by; Sion Jones, JVP Group                                       Published; 30.03.16 

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