Brexit? by Naomi Murdoch-Smith

Summer 2016 we were all in panic – the referendum that ‘shall not be named’ – set us all in a fluster.Are we out of a job? Will this be the end of the UK economy as we know it? Will businesses shut their doors and barricade their bank balances? Will all non-British Citizens be banished to their homelands?

Brexit bluff? How has the reality compared to early predictions of how Brexit will affect the UK economy

Turns out we really over hyped the whole situation. Almost 10 months have passed and Article 50 has now been triggered and yet  little has changed our day to day lives.

Latest results (according to ONS) show the economy actually grew in the months after the vote and the Bank of England has raised its forecast for economic growth next year to 1.4% from 0.8%

But as an employee, how has this affected your job search and career progression? As an employer, how has this affected your business plans and resourcing needs?

As a seasoned recruiter myself I have reflected on how I have found the past 12 months. Predictions vs Reality. I specialise in recruiting within the ‘Built Environment’ and can only comment on my own experience and exposure to the London market. How does this compare to what you have experienced?

Prediction – Employers will stop recruiting or downsize

From what I have seen so far this has just not been the case. The Built Environment market is fluid, so people are always leaving (due to maternity leave, relocation, retiring etc) so there are always people that need replacing and roles to be filled.

Prediction – Candidates will not want to move to other jobs

On the contrary I think the Brexit decision for some may be a reason to move roles, especially from larger business whose projects are tied up in EU function. Regardless I have not seen a decrease in the amount of active job seekers, and passive candidates have still moved for the right role.

Prediction – EU applicants will not want to relocate to the UK

I am still receiving applicants from overseas, particularly from Italy, Spain and Portugal. However I have also seen an increase of EU citizens returning homes. The jury is still out on this one.

Prediction – Employers will not be able to afford recruitment agency fees

This comes down to our ability, as a recruitment consultant, to demonstrate the value of the service we provide. The best consultant with the best relationships I don’t believe will see any impact.

Prediction – Employers will take on contractors over permanent members of staff

Contract staff allow flexibility in head count, so for some companies this is a great alternative to hiring permanent staff in the face of uncertainty. However plenty of companies are able to forward plan further with projects unaffected by Brexit and are still hiring perm candidates.

There is still much uncertaining which I am sure will continue for a number of years as we negotiate our exit from Europe. However as recruitment consultants are job is to adapt to our environment and work with what we know.


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This blog was written by Senior Recruiter & Team Leader Naomi Murdoch-Smith. The opinions stated in this article are those of the writer, and not necessarily reflected by the wider business.