Recruitment Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Do recruiters need to search further afield post-Brexit?

With Article 50 poised for March 2019, recruiters are in a state of limbo over...
Do recruiters need to search further afield post-Brexit?

With five months to go until Britain departs from the European Union (EU), recruiters should be increasingly shrewd on how to survive a “no deal” Brexit. For years, both high and low skilled migrant workers have plugged Britain’s employment gaps across several key sectors. The NHS is one example.

Despite the success of EU workers closing employment cavities, experts have warned that this recruitment model is on the brink of collapse, especially considering the Government has not yet reached an agreement over labour movement. Alternative methods may be necessary for recruiters to stave off the post-Brexit talent dearth.

And, with the triggering of Article 50 poised for March 2019, it is possible that recruiters will experience turbulence; heightening the need to consider alternative approaches to talent pipelining.

But, how are the industry coping with this uncertainty? The experts tell us their thoughts, below… 


“Only time will tell if eventual immigration policies for EU nationals will be conducive to attracting and retaining talent from the continent.”

Ann Swain, Chief Executive Officer, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo)

The current level of uncertainty means that we don’t yet know if recruiters will have to look further afield for staff post-Brexit. However, while rules around freedom of movement after we leave the block are still unclear, our members are currently reporting that a lack of clarity around future status is impacting access to talent – in the short term, at least.

Our latest Market Survey found that over half of recruitment leaders (51%) have seen skills shortages intensify significantly since the referendum result was announced. More than a third (38%) report that time to hire has increased over the same period, while a similar number (39%) have witnessed a decrease in the number of EU candidates on their books.

Only time will tell if eventual immigration policies for EU nationals will be conducive to attracting and retaining talent from the continent. Until the Government’s Immigration White Paper is published in the first quarter of 2019, we are likely to remain in this state of limbo.


David Morel, CEO and Founder of Tiger Recruitment

While the employment market, in general, has certainly started to feel the effects of a reduced European workforce in the UK, the business support sector is still performing well.

Interestingly, we are seeing an increased demand for multilingual candidates both in the UK and Europe, particularly Germany. This is due to businesses expanding their European presence and therefore requiring multilingual support staff to assist both British and European teams.

It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect access to international talent, as the post-Brexit lay of the land is still ambiguous. Undoubtedly, recruiters who stay at the forefront of emerging trends will have the upper hand when it comes to sourcing top candidates.

“It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect access to international talent, as the post-Brexit lay of the land is still ambiguous.”

“We have seen a greater focus on deploying resources more efficiently, and retaining and developing existing staff, to meet both current and future demand.”


Michael Johnson-Ellis, Managing Director at Healthier Recruitment

While the statistics - which indicate that nurses and doctors from Europe have quit Britain since the EU referendum - are concerning, we don’t believe that this will have a material impact on overall access to talent in the healthcare sector. 

Aside from changes to Tier 2 visas for non-EU healthcare professionals – which will help to ease pressures in the short term – both NHS Trusts and private sector organisations are increasingly taking a longer-term approach to talent pipelining.

Since the introduction of agency pay caps and changes to IR35 in the public sector, leaders are realising the benefits of planning workforces more strategically, with a strong backbone of permanent staff. We have seen a greater focus on deploying resources more efficiently, and retaining and developing existing staff, to meet both current and future demand.