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Businesses reveal recruitment plans post Brexit

 Following Britain’s decision to quit the European Union after the referendum in June 2016, the country has been in a state of uncertainty. Sure, now that Article 50 has been triggered and Brexit talks can finally begin, we know more about what life will be like in a Britain that doesn’t have the support of its EU counterparts, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered as we head closer to March 2019.

One of the biggest areas of concern for many is business and recruitment. Will the UK be able to remain competitive without the Free Trade agreement it holds with Europe, and could positions be lost as a result of us being cut off? At present, more than 44% of UK exports in goods and services are sent to other EU countries, which equates to more than £240 billion.

Below, we’ve rounded up everything we know so far about businesses investing in the UK, and what that means for the job market and recruitment in a post-Brexit world.

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Unemployment figures continue to fall

 Figures from the Labour Force Survey suggest that, between the months of September and November, and the three months that followed to February 2017, there were more people in work and fewer people unemployed. The figures showed that there were more than 31.84 million people in work in February of this year, rising 39,000 from September 2016 and an incredible 312,000 from the year prior. The employment rate, which is the proportion of people who are aged between sixteen and 64 and are in work, is now at 74.6%, which is the joint highest since the records began in 1971.

And, when you look at some of the world’s most popular job websites, you can see that there are more advertised jobs than ever before. As James Reed, chair the Reed recruitment agency, says to Sky News, the website saw a “massive boom” with thousands of new jobs made available to the public in early 2017. In January of this year alone, the site hosted more than 86,000 jobs, which was an eighteen percent increase in the same time last year.

You only have to look at the job market to see that recruitment continues to thrive, even despite the uncertain times and rising costs of living. The Manchester jobs section of the CV Library website alone has more than six thousand jobs listed at any one time – an indicator that the region is battling against the predicted downfall of the job market post-Brexit.

There’s still interest in investing in the United Kingdom

 The stock market has perhaps been one of the most tumultuous aspects of the Brexit story. Indeed, directly following the result, the pound tumbled, and has struggled to reclaim its prior position as one of the world’s most secure currencies. However, on 16 March, the FTSE 100 closed at a record high of 7,415 following the Fed rate decision and the Dutch election result – on a day that key mergers and acquisitions were made. Weetabix was sold, and rumours of a merger between Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp were rife. The FTSE record was the biggest indicator so far that there’s still invest in investment in the United Kingdom.

But it wasn’t just the FTSE result that shed some positivity over the jobs market. Some of the world’s biggest technology giants, including Google, Facebook and Apple, have all announced plans to expand their presence in the country. Apple said it would move its UK headquarters to Battersea Power Station as part of an eight-billion-pound regeneration project, taking 500,000 square feet of office space across six floors. The company will move its 1,400 employees from other London offices to one central hub in Battersea, and will also recruit new hires as it expands its British operations in a post-Brexit market.

Google, too, will move into new premises in the capital. It had already announced it would be building a skyscraper in London back in 2013, but confirmed before Christmas that the plans would be going ahead despite “reservations” of the referendum result. The new campus, to be built in King’s Cross, will create 3,000 new jobs.

Social media giant Facebook will also up its UK expansion plans, telling The Guardian that it will hire more than 500 additional UK workers for a new central London headquarters. The move boosts its British headcount by 50% and gives the company a competitive edge over rivals Twitter and Snapchat, who have limited presence in the country.

Recruitment in London is largely unaffected

 In the latest edition of the London Employment Monitor, Morgan McKinley Finance Services has explained that businesses in the capital are continuing to move forward with their hiring plans and that the threat of Brexit has done little to stop them in their tracks.

Hakan Enver, operations director at Morgan McKinley, said that: “Bosses are done trying to look into the future by reading tea leaves, and they’re getting back to the business of hiring talent. This time a year ago we were looking at significant drops in the number of jobs available. There’s now a growing sense that we have a real opportunity to reshape how business is done, for the better.”

Enver agreed that hiring plans in the finance sector has pinpointed a shift in the mindset of recruiters. “Finance companies and I suspect the banks as well, have got a bit bored with Brexit,” he said. “It’s business as usual – make money out of the markets as they stand”.

Employers are optimistic about the future of recruitment

 It’s not just multinational firms that are fighting against the effects of Brexit. Small and medium-sized businesses, which make up 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, are the source of more than 15.7 million jobs. British employers are “optimistic” about recruiting the highly-skilled workers that they need in a post-Brexit world, according to a poll called out by the skills organisation City & Guilds, which interviewed more than 500 senior decision makers across a range of sectors, such as education, finance and construction.

The survey revealed that 26% of business heads felt that Brexit wouldn’t impact on their ability to find and hire the most competent employees, while 42% said that the result would have a positive effect on their recruitment efforts. These figures come despite the fact that 18% of its respondents currently rely on EU staff for more than half of their workforce.

 The true extent of Brexit remains to be seen

 While it appears as though the recruitment industry remains unaffected by the Brexit Bill, the true extent remains to be seen. For recruiters, Brexit is likely to bring new challenges – especially for those recruiting manual jobs or those that typically attract a larger proportion of foreign workers or workers with specialist skills and experience. This, then, is likely to become one of the biggest obstacles for recruiters – managing the undersupply of skilled candidates and offering the right training and education to UK workers in the future.

There you have it – everything you need to know about recruitment in a post-Brexit world. As negotiations continue and changes to legislation come into play, we’re likely to enter a new world of recruitment and business, but what can be guaranteed is that businesses and recruiters remain optimistic about the potential changes ahead.

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