With the announcement that the UK would officially be leaving the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron declaring he was stepping down, and the British Pound bouncing dramatically over a one week period — Brexit has many economists wondering what's next?
Recruitment world waiting for the other shoe to drop
Perhaps no one is more concerned than the international recruitment community, which now has to scramble to secure new contracts in the hopes that the breakup doesn't cause more labor shortages.
Recruitment Grapevine reports no major recruiting issues for British businesses that employ EU nationals. Chris Slay, the Director at Skills Provision, an international recruitment firm, says "There was a reservation before the referendum because no one was sure what would happen. Now we have certainty about leaving the EU, I have not seen any panic at all." The only concern, Slay mentions, is that some employers are concerned about what may happen to their EU contracted staff.
In the USA, recruiters are concerned about Brexit having an impact on the US job market, as the stock markets experience major surges that could affect consumer confidence and spending, while also creating more skill shortages when US professionals relocate to the UK for work.
More experts debating Brexit on LinkedIn
The conversation is picking up momentum over at LinkedIn where multiple experts are weighing in on what's to come in the next few months. In advance of the UK's exit from the EU, Beckie Bellamy, Recruitment Coordinator at Four Seasons Recruitment Ltd., blogged that," advertised vacancies fell by more than 7% in January. That accounted for about 165,000 fewer jobs." She pointed out that many recruiters were worried about further talent shortages, but that Brexit would enable the UK to redesign its restrictive employment laws.
Bernard Marr, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Leading Business and Data Expert, writes at LinkedIn about the uncertainty likely to hit more than a million Britons living as expats in the EU. They have to wait out any new deals between continental nations and their homeland. It may not be in the best interests for any EU nation to start altering its workforce, given the high cost to train the locals.
The positive and negative sides of Brexit
Over at Social-Hire, Ash Knight, of Ashley James Consulting, blogs about the good, bad, and the ugly scenarios that Brexit may produce. On the positive side, recruiters should expect reduced red-tape, increased home-grown talent to bring into jobs, and the ability to demand higher agency fees. On the other side, the biggest drain on the talent market is that of information experts – as many are currently working in other EU nations, and the uncertainty of what will happen to the 3 million jobs tied to EU contracts.
What to expect now
While some opinions differ about what's happening now that Brexit has been voted into action, the general consensus is that the world economy, particularly that of the EU, will be rocky for some time. Companies may sit things out with temporary hiring freezes. Candidates who lose their contracts may be forced to move from EU nations and return to the UK, or head for other opportunities in non-EU regions, such as the Americas, Middle-East or Asia. Others may simply remain where they are and apply for citizenship.
As for labor shortages, there is plenty of unskilled labor in the UK ready to be trained and utilized. Labor laws may be loosened up a bit to allow candidates to move freely from one region to another for work opportunities. There will always be competition for professional level candidates, such as those in the STEM field, just as there are in other parts of the world.