Brexit : HR's 4 Point Survival Plan

Posted by Kate Smedley on 29 Jul 2016

The jobs market continues to see a mixed set of headlines relating to Brexit.  A faltering economy is blamed on the referendum result as Lloyds Bank announced plans to close 2,000 branches. On a more positive note, McDonald’s intends to recruit 5,000 more staff by the end of 2017 – and pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline is investing £275m in its three UK operations. But the overall outlook remains tentative and employers are understandably cautious.

A CIPD/People Management survey found that 58% of employers believe Brexit will weaken their ability to hire and retain qualified employees. The continued absence of clarity over the rights of EU migrants to remain in the UK is exacerbating the uncertainty. As this is likely to persist for some time, HR can take action now to address future skills gaps.

Following our previous article on hiring in an unpredictable jobs market, here’s our advice for the long-term:-

Invest in ongoing digital learning

The EU’s Digital Scoreboard confirms what HR and the tech sector already know, that the UK is facing a shortage of skilled tech candidates, Supply is failing to keep pace with demand. 

The extent of the problem affects not just the tech sector and is highlighted in the recently published UK House of Commons report The Digital Economy. The digital skills gap is costing the UK economy an estimated £63 billion per year in lost additional GDP. The EU’s New Skills Agenda also predicts 125,000 unfilled tech related vacancies in the UK by 2017. This number may prove to be on the low side if access to skilled EU professionals is limited.

Digital skills training must be an immediate and long-term priority. Options for HR to consider include:-

  • Recruiting people from non-tech careers with skills in areas such as project management and provide relevant training.
  • Identify and upskill existing employees who are able to learn new technological skills quickly in order to keep pace with rapid change.

HR analytics can provide insight into candidates and employees with relevant soft skills and learning ability. It will also screen and process qualified candidates quickly through your recruitment funnel.

Be prepared to review salaries

Sectors such as IT have seen ongoing increases in salaries but the overall picture presents a downward trend. Between 2007 and 2015, wages in the UK fell by 10.4% according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The UK is one of only three countries, together with Greece and Portugal that saw real wages fall. Germany and France enjoyed wages growth of 14% and 11% respectively. People aged 34 and under have been the hardest hit, earning less than the generation that preceded them. If the predicted recession does not occur, it is possible that salaries will rise significantly in areas hardest hit by a limited talent pool. HR must be prepared to review salaries in the long-term to attract top talent that will give their business a competitive edge.

Offer flexible working

For employers unable to compete with global brands on salary, culture and benefits will become vital to attract talent. Flexible working options could be the key to success for HR in this area. A new survey from Regus found that 90% of professionals would opt for a position with flexible working options if they had a choice of two similar jobs. It may prove to be an essential talent acquisition and retention tool in HR’s balancing act prior to the UK’s formal exit from the UK. The growth of the Gig Economy will place further pressure on employers to provide flexible working as part of an overall package.

Appoint a Chief Brexit Officer

KPMG has become the first business to appoint a Head of Brexit to its executive leadership team. For international businesses, particularly those involved in the single market, a Chief Brexit Officer may be the ideal solution to maintain operational stability and a sense of calm as the economy and jobs market remain impossible to predict.

Support your Brexit survival plan with world class recruitment software used by some of the world’s leading organisations. Hire better people faster. Contact Advorto today.

You might also like to read:-

Brexit : Reactions & Hiring Trends

10 Vital Strategies To Hire (& Retain) Tech Talent

Topics: industry-article

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