The UK’s vote to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 cast widespread uncertainty across the country (and, indeed, across the world) about the future of business in Britain. The initial economic impact of Brexit saw the pound drop to its lowest level since 1985 in the days following the Leave vote and, though the market has since levelled out, the pound remains weak. The British Chambers of Commerce does say that Britain will likely avoid a recession, but it has downgraded its forecast of GDP growth over the next three years. The state of the economy, however, is not the only factor causing concern amongst CEOs.
With political negotiations about the exact nature of Brexit still ongoing, businesses cannot be certain what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like – especially with regards to the transference of talent and the physical movement of workforces. Businesses need to be prepared for all potential outcomes, and investing in virtual talent is a fail-safe way to do this. CEOs should think about which skills they might need in the future, and assess any risks that might affect the eligibility of the workforce to remain in the UK.
How Brexit is affecting the UK’s workforces
According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which asked 2,102 UK employers about their hiring plans for the last three months of 2016, employers have become significantly more cautious about hiring staff following the Brexit vote – especially those within the financial services and construction industries, and the public sector. The agency’s UK managing director, Mark Cahill, says that freedom of movement is of particular concern to employers, due to the UK’s reliance on European talent to fill the skills gaps. Foreign workers do not just fill low-paid, unskilled positions in the UK – they are an integral part of many highly skilled professions. Businesses need to be able to access this global talent.
If workers cannot cross borders, then businesses will
It is not yet clear what the status of the UK’s 2.1 million EU migrant workers will be once the UK triggers Article 50. According to dataquarks.com, it is plausible that businesses will see an increase in the competition for skilled British workers, and subsequently need to increase wages and salaries in order to secure and retain the best staff. Economists have predicted that, along with a mass exodus of EU workers and the loss of the single market, certain industries may decide to move out of the UK, and take talent pools with them. It is thought that Germany is an attractive hub for financial services jobs and tech talent, for example.
Tapping into a ‘borderless’ pool of global talent
Despite all these concerns and uncertainties, Brexit doesn’t have to impact CEOs’ abilities to access the best global talent. If restrictions on the free movement of workers come into force, and certain industries move talent pools out of the UK, the virtues of the open talent economy will become increasingly evident. By tapping into a curated pool of Independent Professionals from around the world, companies are able to virtually transcend borders and access the exact skills they need on demand. The capabilities of technology have meant that workers are now able to operate completely remotely, which means that companies where feasible can save time, money and resources and, ultimately, overcome the legal boundaries associated with the physical movement of workers.
Embracing the global open talent economy is a truly ‘borderless’ way of working, and allows companies to adapt to the constant shifts in the market. It does, however, require an open-minded culture, and for companies to take a flexible approach to the workplace. As long as your company is open to this new way of working, the open talent economy will enable you to thrive in the challenging and changing environment of post-Brexit Britain.
Of course, for some companies, investing in a remote, virtual workforce simply isn’t feasible. They want to be able to meet Independent Professionals in person, and have them working onsite. In cases such as these, Brexit may seem to present more of a problem. EU workers may need to obtain permits to work in the UK and be subject to restrictions. a-connect has 14 years’ experience in navigating the open talent economy, so you can rest assured that we will continue to provide you with the best talent.
Invest in a future that is more certain
The open talent economy is an ideal option for businesses who need to continue to access global skills and expertise, and a-connect can expertly curate your talent pool so that – whatever the ramifications of Brexit – you can work with global Independent Professionals on demand. To find out how our global pool of experienced professionals can help your company thrive in the post-Brexit landscape, contact us today.