BlogNavigating Withdrawal Agreements and March 2019 – What Recruiters should really be focussed on!

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In preparation for her presentation to the Board, a city based financial services client recently approached me for my thoughts on how an organisation like hers might best be able to prepare for March 2019 and beyond. In the height of Withdrawal Agreement negotiations as we are, it’s easy to feel bamboozled by political egos, conflicting business opinion, worrying legal and commercial hypotheses and what the overall consequences will be for us all.

However, the reality is, that as Recruiters, Brexit is just smaller part of a much bigger global picture that we need to embrace, and future-proof against…

My answer comes in three parts. Firstly, our direct experience of the market as HR Recruitment experts, secondly the wider overall Brexit impact that can be seen so far, across the UK employment market, and thirdly what I feel is a much more important picture to look at, irrespective of what the outcome of Brexit will be, is the global challenges around sourcing talent.

HR Talent
From a personal perspective as specialist HR recruiters across industries including Financial Services, Professional Services, Technology, Media, Retail and Business Services we haven’t yet noticed an obvious “Brexit-related” drain on talent. That said, candidates do seem to be a lot more cautious in their job search, with many only finding themselves in the market because it’s the end of a contract, or there is an impending redundancy. There is much less “speculative browsing” by candidates “interested to see what’s out there because it might just be time to make a move, and they’d like to see what’s available”. This would appear to be as a result of increased cautiousness, which could ultimately affect overall supply

UK Talent
Across the employment market in general, the particular talent “pinch points” mostly seen so far appear to be within traditional blue-collar roles, nursing/NHS, IT and Engineering sectors, which would appear to be as a result of a reducing supply of EU Workers.

A survey by Deloitte suggested that 36% of non-British workers based in the UK are considering leaving in the next 5 years. Within that they suggested that it’s the highly skilled that are most likely to leave. With the Financial Services industry relying on 5% of their workforce coming from the EU, then this could have significant impact.

Global Talent
With so much talk of Brexit, it is easy to be side-lined from the much bigger picture which is that of the ever-increasing shortage of global talent. A recent Manpower Study found that worldwide 45% of employers in 2018 have struggled to fill jobs, a 5% increase from 2017 and a 12-year high.
It is suggested that by 2030, India will be the only country with a surplus of talent. Korn Ferry have taken this further by suggesting these figures could be as high as an 85million-person deficit in just over 10 years’ time. They suggest that much of this shortage is owing to demographic changes with Japan and many European nations having low birth rates for decades. In the US, most baby boomers will have moved out of the workforce by 2030, but younger generations will not have had time or training to take the highly skilled jobs left behind. Birth rates in the US have also fallen; down from 2.12 to 1.77 in the last decade (The Economist, Nov 2018)
Important Considerations
It is difficult to predict exactly what the outcome of all of this will be but it’s worth taking time to consider the following likely implications:

As with all supply/demand situations the likely consequence of this will be a rise in wage levels.

Employer Branding
Employers will need to give further thought to their branding and positioning of themselves as employers of choice in the market

Learning & Development
Internally businesses will be wise to look at upskilling internally, whilst also forging greater relationships with universities and colleges to enable a better flow of candidates equipped with the right skills. Embracing Apprenticeship Schemes further

Employee Engagement / Employee Retention
HR strategies that will focus on employee satisfaction, enhanced flexible working, gender equality, employee development, succession planning and lots more!

From a technical perspective, a continued general increase in automation

As with most business challenges, the key to succeeding will be in the preparation.

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