A third of small firms expect Brexit to damage recruitment prospects
Over three in ten decision makers at small companies are braced for a hit on their ability to attract and retain future employees as a result of Brexit, new research has found.
The study, undertaken by freelancing website Upwork, questioned small business owners on their expectations for profit growth and talent acquisition in a post-EU Britain. While owners remained split over the overall impact on their business, fears over effective recruitment have been found to be a pressing issue at many companies.
Any Brexit deal that sees the UK opt out of freedom of movement would remove access to the pool of 500m European workers, a demographic of particular importance to Britain’s thriving community of tech companies, while the residence rights of current European nationals within the UK is still undecided.
The research presented another concerning statistic – of the companies expecting recruitment problems, just 11 per cent have prepared strategies to minimise the impact of Brexit on securing talent. Such firms are expecting to spend an average of over £100,000 over the next two years to compensate for workforce uncertainty.
Commenting on the findings, Rich Pearson, senior vice president of Upwork, stated that a “winning strategy” for small business recruitment depended on “investing in alternative ways to source talent”.
“There is already a well-documented skills gap in the UK, and our research suggests that leaving the EU will make it even harder for small businesses to find the talent they need to compete effectively,” he added in a statement.
In a recent article for Business Advice, CEO at talent acquisition firm interim.team, Rorie Devine, outlined a post-Brexit startup recruitment strategy for entrepreneurs. He highlighted the importance of embracing the “ongoing churn” of employees and of recongising the temporary nature of many modern workplaces.
With this in mind, Devine advised recruiters to take advantage of the demand for flexible contract work among growing numbers of young workers and offer short-term positions.
“Smart managers must learn to continually add workers in areas of growth and innovation, then release or re-deploying them when their objectives and deliverables are complete,” Devine said.
It didn’t take long for Brexit to hit the hiring strategies of UK businesses. A survey undertaken by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in June 2016 found that a quarter of UK firms immediately called a halt to all recruitment as a direct result of the EU referendum result.
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