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As we head towards a period of Brexit-induced uncertainty, SMEs should remain calm as the Brexit effect on recruitment won’t happen overnight.

How are SMEs, which rely on a supply of quality people with the skills and experience to help their organisation thrive, coping with the countdown to the UK’s separation from the European Union (EU)? While UK firms’ employment of EU nationals has slowed since the referendum vote last summer, the practice remains popular for both employers and EU candidates.

Brexit impact on HR

Over the next few months, it will become increasingly important to protect and engage talent and avoid discrimination creeping into HR practices. There’s a risk that employers will assume there is a looming shortage of talent and begin changing their recruitment decision-making.

Brexit effect on recruitment? The uncertainty of change

The EU referendum vote outcome generated shockwaves – the value of the pound dropped, as did investor confidence – but that was short lived. Have we seen a Brexit effect on recruitment?

In truth, companies are still recruiting and unemployment remains at about 4.8%, compared to the International Labour Organisation’s estimated 2017 global rate of 5.7%. So, confidence remains.

It’s true that the government is planning to control immigration, and visa sponsorship is attracting further costs. But we have seen a desire by the government to guarantee the rights of foreign workers.

No point labouring over the Brexit effect on recruitment

SMEs have always faced the expense and uncertainty of regulatory change. But they should also have robust recruitment practices in place, and remain more flexible than larger corporates. This helps them to address change as it happens. So, stay focused on finding the best talent that your business can afford. Brexit is unlikely to erode employment rights dramatically, so keep communicating with your workforce about the separation, and review your talent strategy regularly.

At Haines Watts we can provide you with all the HR & recruitment advice you need to be able to deal with the Brexit effect on recruitment. Contact your local Haines Watts office to find out how we can help you.

How has Brexit affected recruitment for your business? Join the conversation on Twitter @haineswatts or leave a comment below.

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Alexandra Marriott

Alexandra’s role is two-fold; she partners with CEOs, executives and owner-managed businesses to align their people strategy with their business strategy. With her team, she has a relentless focus on any given destination with the aim of reaching it in the smartest, most commercial and economical way. She’s also a member of the Haines Watts (SEM) Board, where she leads the development and implementation of people strategy, aimed at building and retaining high performing individuals.

Earning her stripes in the motor, retail-leisure sectors and IT managed service environment, Alexandra worked across a portfolio of owner managed businesses and international finance houses, designing solutions that enabled each business to thrive. Taking a gamble in 2010, she set up her own HR consultancy which allowed her to bring her own business ideas to life. This facilitated her joining Haines Watts in 2016, bringing her portfolio and team along with her. After 2 decades in the industry, as a qualified HR professional, she continues to prove that HR is an asset.

Alexandra’s solution-focused, often inspiring others to better themselves and is a strong influencer within the business, pushing fellow board members to make smart people decisions. Recently, having become a mother, she’s now thriving from the challenge of balancing both her career aspirations and family life.

“I love spending time with my ‘partner in crime’ (Peter!), whether this be trying out new restaurants, planning holidays, or just relaxing and having a laugh together. I’m passionate about being fit and strong, both physically and mentally. Regardless of what life throws at me, I ensure I take time out to plug in some music, lift some weights or go for a bike ride.”

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