How might Brexit affect your workforce?

By 26/09/2018Brexit

Brexit Blog

The UK’s 2016 Referendum decision and the subsequent triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017 have set into motion for the formal processes for what is popularly known as Brexit. Unless otherwise agreed during the current negotiations, the UK’s membership of the EU will end on the 29th March 2019.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU will have major implications for many organisations, especially in those sectors employing a high share of EU nationals such as hospitality, healthcare, food production, retail and construction. The UK Government has already stated that it intends to introduce migrations restrictions that will focus on attracting “the brightest and the best” EU nationals to the UK. However, this could have a particularly negative impact if this is implemented without due understanding of the needs for unskilled or low skilled industries.

Once Brexit negotiations are resolved and the terms – including immigration rules and trade arrangements – are finalised, it will of course give organisations the opportunity to respond more confidently. Hopefully the transition period will be substantial enough for all organisations to acknowledge and respond appropriately. As it stands we’re in this unknown territory where we don’t know whether we need to plan for worse case scenario. Brexit is creating uncertainty, even with the deadline for exit so close but we can be sure of challenges ahead.

While there are still open questions about what to expect, how this will shape the labour market, employment law and immigration policy, organisations shouldn’t ignore the fact that these changes may affect how you achieve your objectives. Particular thought should be invested in workforce planning and what will your work force looks like now and what it will look like moving forwards.

What should you consider?

  1. Is your work force currently populated by EU nationals?
  2. Do you believe that your current EU national employees will remain in your organisation after Brexit?
  3. How will you recruit if EU nationals can no longer fulfil those roles?
  4. Do you use temporary workers, which in the majority are EU Nationals?
  5. If you envisage that recruitment could be difficult going forward-
    1. Could the role be different, could it or parts of it be absorbed by another role?
    2. Could the role be automated?
    3. Could the role be outsourced?

These are big questions if your organisation is reliant on EU Nationals. At the very least we recommend you start reviewing and exploring these considerations.

We are here to help should you need any assistance with workforce planning. We know that time flies, 6 months will be here before we know it. Please get in touch should you require any help.