Skittish On Brexit, Brits Scale Back Hiring Plans

Brexit and relocating workers

Perhaps no surprise, but the Brexit vote that so spooked markets and politics alike just a few months ago is now causing a number of British employers to rein in near term hiring plans.

Reuters reported Monday (Aug. 15) that a survey conducted jointly by the CIPD, a trade organization tied to human resources professionals and Adecco Group U.K. & Ireland, found that firms are a bit more skittish about investing in staff for the next three months. The percentage of employers seeking to boost employee rosters through that timeframe has dropped from 40 percent pre-Brexit vote to 36 percent post vote.

Beyond that statistic, as many as one in five employers are of the mindset that they will reduce investment in preparatory activities – namely, training for staffers – as they eye the slide on the pound, which in turn makes it more expensive to conduct cross-border activity focused on imports. Looking at the possible impact to migrant workers, the overarching sentiment is that it is too soon to see if the vote/exit from the E.U. would cause them to leave the U.K.  But 20 percent of businesses surveyed said they thought that there would be at least some impact in terms of migration away from the U.K.  

Conventional wisdom has held that Britain will face a recession, tempered only a bit by the re-emergence of slow growth in the economy, as doubts linger about the vagaries of trading with the E.U. in the wake of the actual departure from the E.U. As has been widely noted, interest rates, already low, sank even lower as the Bank of England cut rates in an effort to help stimulate growth.

In a statement, CIPD acting chief economist Ian Brinkley said that “While many businesses are treating the immediate post-Brexit period as ‘business as usual’ and hiring intentions overall still remain positive, there are signs that some organizations, particularly in the private sector, are preparing to batten down the hatches.”


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