After months of public debates, campaigning and mass speculation about the future of the UK and its relationship with Europe; the UK voted to leave the EU by 52% in the 2016 referendum. But what now? Have we affected the availability of talent? So far, we are all still unsure. Could this uncertainty lead to EU talent jumping ship?
Currently, immigration from the European Union is boosting the UK workforce by around 0.5% a year with over 2 million EU workers in Britain, helping support the economy’s ability to grow without pushing wage growth and inflation; keeping interest rates lower for longer. It’s unlikely the government will pursue a quick change in attitude encouraging an exodus of our migrant population; given these positive economic contributors. Yet there is still no definitive picture of what a vote to leave Europe will mean for their rights to work and live in the UK.
And what about the knock-on effect for their UK employers? They will be looking to minimize disruption to their workforce while ensuring their immigration practices remain complaint and legal. But what exactly is the Brexit impact on employers? Can UK employers and the HR Teams protect their organisations from potential disruption to their workforce following Brexit? Will they continue to hire EU Nationals?
Furthermore, an EU-based organisation’s decision about investing in Britain and overall talent strategy could be impacted. Organisations may opt to source talent locally or opt against deepening their roots in Britain if immigration and cross-border matters pose an additional challenge to an already complex concept.
The UK had always benefited from mobility rights to move; allowing organisations to hire the top talent from Europe. This freedom of movement has historically allowed professionals to enable their businesses to grow and expand by being able to attract a bigger pool of candidates. The uncertainty remains as to whether businesses in the UK will continue to have their strong talent agenda if such restrictions are to come in as part of the exodus.
We have already begun to see multinationals holding back. International Assignments being shortened from years to just months; with these only going ahead for essential projects or services; as opposed to employees being sent abroad to gain international experience and acquire new skills. Is this further evidence that we will be missing out on crucial growth opportunities?
What now for global mobility professionals? Business as usual, with a few added contingency plans? The instability of what the future will look like means a considerable amount of additional work for global mobility professionals planning to support their organisations; which is also evident in the increasing demand of temporary global mobility professionals. Could moving head offices outside of the UK be the next step for some UK organisations?
To discuss this or any of our current opportunities within the Global Mobility space, please contact TheoPhilippou@oakleafpartnership.com