Haines Watts

How will Brexit affect HR and recruitment?

Group of Business People Meeting with Chart

As we head towards a period of Brexit-induced uncertainty, SMEs should remain calm as change 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.

But 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.

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.

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 Brexit

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.