Our latest discussions with government and other business organisations have provided some intelligence on what a post-EU referendum jobs market and business landscape might look like, although there are still many more questions than answers at this stage. In addition, ongoing feedback from REC members and clients is providing us with a unique insight into how the referendum result is currently impacting hiring activities.
The government has discounted a points-based immigration system and made it clear that the intention is not to simply adopt an 'off-the-shelf' model from other non-EU countries (eg Switzerland or Norway). Over the coming weeks and months, we can expect this process of elimination to continue. The REC's aim is to promote a clear and positive vision for what a post-EU jobs market should look like, starting with effective measures for ensuring that UK recruiters and employers can access the staff and skills they need.
Here are some of the key developments and messages from the last few weeks:
- Permanent hiring has bounced back – The latest REC Report of Jobs data showed a rise in permanent placements, following decreases seen in the preceding months around the Brexit vote. Anecdotal evidence suggests that employers have decided to move ahead with hires that had previously been placed on hold. The latest data shows temp billings rising at the strongest rate since May, having eased to a ten-month low in July.
- Access to staff and skills remains the major concern – We are using sector group meetings, webinars, Scale-Up events and Regional Policy Forums to gauge latest member feedback. So far, the main concern for most members has been access to staff and skills, and the need to reassure EU workers already here. On the back of this, influencing government’s thinking on immigration policy is the initial priority for our campaigning activities (see below).
- Researching other models is part of our pro-active approach – We are using our relationship with Ciett – the global representative body for the recruitment industry - and with recruitment federations around the world to conduct analysis of how their immigration models work in practice. This has involved a recent visit to Norway and interviews with representative from Switzerland, Australia and Canada, as well as with immigration experts based in the UK. This proactive approach will amplify our voice on key issues and ensure that the government is asking the right questions when developing a post-EU immigration strategy.
- We are positioning the industry’s voice at the forefront of the post-EU debate – Since the EU referendum vote in June, the REC has been invited to take part in over 30 Brexit-themed meetings and events. Most recent events and meetings have included the BFI Brexit Employer Summit, CBI roundtables with other leading business organisations, the CIPD/Adecco Labour Market Outlook launch and discussions with incoming Ministers. These events are providing us with a great platform for taking forward our key messages – particularly on access to staff and skills – and for getting the latest updates from government and employers.
- Our aim is to engage with the highest levels of government – We met this week with new Employment Minster Damian Hinds and used this to flag member concerns on access to staff and skills as well as our industry’s role in driving inclusive recruitment. We will use our regular data and the insight from REC members to influence the debate and to build our links with key figures within the Prime Minister’s new administration.
We will provide members with regular ‘Brexit Briefings’ as well as specific updates aimed at your clients and candidates such as our what happens next briefings for clients
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