REC Blog

Brexit angst and parallel lines
Brexit angst and parallel lines
REC View & Campaigns 13th Sep 2019

Our latest Brexit webinar this week was an opportunity to take stock of the political ‘carnival’.  Members are concerned (naturally!) but stoic, and using this time of chronic uncertainty to nurture links with clients who are increasingly looking to their recruitment partners for help in addressing immediate staffing needs as well as longer-term workforce challenges. 

Since the start of the year, we have engaged directly with over 1000 REC members through webinars, regional workshops and sector groups. It’s been emotional! Here a few key messages from our latest webinar: 

  • Brexit prep goes up a step

Our previous webinar had shown that 48 per cent of members had some no-deal preparations underway but with plenty still to do, whilst 43 per cent had made no preparations at all to date and only 8 per cent felt well prepared. The need to ramp up preparations has intensified since then which is why we are working with government and other leading business organisations to channel as much intel as we can back to members. 

  • Brexit angst is on the rise

Over 70 per cent of members reported that they were more concerned about the outlook for jobs and hiring activities than at the time of our previous webinar. In addition to the threat of a worsening economic climate, the main concerns flagged by REC members include reduced access to EU labour, complexities around right to work checks for EU citizens and difficulties in sharing data between the UK and the EU.  

  • Let’s not lose sight of other priorities

Outside of Brexit, the key message from REC members to government is to ensure that the regulatory environment is workable and helps compliant recruiters to thrive. We will be taking this message forward in our ongoing discussions with government departments. Although there’s no general election for now, we are gearing up our manifesto messages and will be in amongst at the Party Conferences which kick off next week with the Lib Dems in Bournemouth. 

  • Let’s spread the word

Ensuring that recruitment businesses in the front line of the UK jobs market are equipped to deal with the transition will also ensure that individual job seekers and employers are as prepared as possible. On that note, the feedback from our last Employment Policy Committee was that clients are increasingly looking to their recruitment partners for advice on Brexit-related challenges. This ties in with our JobsOutlook data which shows that 90 per cent of employers cite ‘access to expertise’ as the determining factor when choosing a recruitment partner to work with. 

Parallel priorities for REC are to continue amplifying our industry’s external voice on key issues of the day including skills, immigration, productivity and the future of jobs (as well as specific Brexit related developments) whilst also providing practical business support back to REC members - for example through our series of Greg Savage masterclasses.

The ongoing insight we receive from members through our events, workshops and webinars will continue to inform our media campaigns and our discussions with government. Let’s keep that coming! In the meantime, don’t forget to visit our Brexit Hub, we’re doing what we can to make sense of it all!

We are holding another Brexit webinar on 31 October - Register here to join us

Tom Hadley
Tom Hadley - Director of Policy & Campaigns

Tom Hadley is Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). His role focuses on lobbying key Government and EU officials on a range of labour market issues and highlighting REC initiatives to promote industry standards, including enforcement of a Code of Professional Practice, audit schemes and the Diversity Pledge. Previous roles include six years at the CBI, working at recruitment and economic development consultancy MBA Training Research & Development, a traineeship within the European Commission and working for the in-house legal department of the French multi-national Vivendi. Find him on Twitter @hadleyscomment.

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