The B word and its effect on recruitment
What a year 2020 has been, and as it draws to a close, we, for one, are hoping that 2021 will be more positive for businesses everywhere.
One result of the pandemic, though, is that we haven’t heard quite so much about Brexit in recent months. But with the end of the transition period in very near sight, we’re looking at how the recruitment sector will move forward without the ready supply of foreign workers that so many sectors have traditionally relied upon.
We believe the full impact of Brexit and its effect on the UK job market will not be clear for a little while yet, and certainly, you can find any number of different sources putting forward opposing views on the impact on jobs.
It’s hard to believe that there is not going to be a significant impact
EU nationals make up over 7% of the UK workforce, the majority of whom are in less skilled roles. There are high percentages in industries such as construction or food manufacture that are reliant on a fluid, and frequently self-employed workforce. Those who currently live in the UK should be able to continue – if they apply for settled status by next summer.
But for new workers wanting to come to the UK, they will be subject to the point-based system, which favours those in skilled positions.
We can anticipate pressure on these sectors with traditionally low wages and a higher percentage of migrants doing jobs seen as low skilled. Low skilled most definitely does not equate to unimportant, as has been seen more clearly than ever during the pandemic, and these people are essential in keeping vital sectors operating. Industries such as hospitality, manufacturing and the care sector, are all heavily reliant on lower-paid foreign workers. It’s inevitable that they will face substantial increases in costs and bureaucracy.
We think the way forward here will be through funding to cover the additional costs, pushing wages up and encouraging UK workers into the roles left vacant.
Other sectors may fare better
Other sectors, such as the NHS and financial services, may fare better. These areas tend to be dominated by larger employers, who already employ many workers from outside of the EU, and so are used to the bureaucracy involved. Indeed, with the new restrictions less punitive for those outside of the UK, they may even benefit.
Ironically the pandemic may help the situation in the short-term, as many hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs just at the time that companies are finding it more bureaucratic and time-consuming to hire the people they have traditionally relied on.
Has your organisation historically relied on foreign workers and if so, how will the forthcoming changes affect you?