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How will Brexit affect recruitment?

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It’s just a couple of weeks until the UK is supposed to be leaving the EU. Despite this, we still don’t know what that Brexit will look like. With arguing politicians, scaremongering and uncertainty dominating the headlines since the June 2016 EU referendum, it’s no wonder that 61% of employers are worriedabout us leaving the European Union. At a time like this, it’s natural that companies may be reluctant to hire, certainly permanent staff, and employees less likely to leave the security of their current role. With the March 29 deadline rapidly approaching, what impact is Brexit having on recruitment?

Survey data released by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) late last year revealed that demand for both permanent and contingent workers suffered a year-on-year dip. Vacancies for contractors fell by 6% in October 2018 while demand for permanent employees declined by 4%, suggesting a marginal fall in employer confidence. In the year up to October 2018, the number of contractors out on assignments fell by 10% and demand for these workers fell across almost every sector. 

Either things have changed since these figures, or finance professionals are in slightly different demand in commerce because we aren’t seeing this trend as we head towards Brexit. While there has indeed been little activity at the senior level, aside from normal attrition and succession rates, probably due to uncertainty or a lack of confidence, the junior level is as robust as ever. We’ve seen no drop-off in demand for ACAs up to three years post-qualified, particularly for group accounting and control roles, in fact there is a shortage of candidates. The interim side is booming too as a side effect of uncertainty, across all our specialist sectors.

Even though all the headlines are negative, with EU workers quitting the UKat the fastest rate since 1997 and a drop of 132,000 EU citizens working in Britain, we are seeing growth plans continue among our clients and business carrying on as normally as possible. If permanent hires are seen as risky, particularly as an investment for smaller businesses, then our stats suggest that the temporary market should continue to flourish. Whether those contracts will be converted to permanent once a Brexit decision is made remains to be seen, but from our perspective the negativity, however we feel about Brexit, isn’t having the effect on recruitment as it might be in other industries.

If you need help finding talented professionals, please don’t hesitate to contact The Consultancy Groupand we’ll be more than happy to help.