6 ways businesses can cope post-Brexit
It goes without saying that structural changes are having a significant impact on the UK labour market. The decision for the UK to leave the European Union has undoubtedly thrown further uncertainty into the market, which we cannot ignore. It’s a volatile period, and agility is paramount to effectively navigate this time of change.
But this environment of certain uncertainty is nothing new. We are used to a post-recession landscape that is less stable and harder to predict. In today’s world of work, companies plan for unpredictability and need to be built for change. Business leaders must now look ahead and lead. In doing so, they will ensure the UK maintains its enviable competitive advantage, from which it has long prospered.
When the status quo unexpectedly alters, we move to Plan B. While the UK Parliament works out what’s next, there are many companies in need of solutions, and many job seekers wanting clear advice and fresh opportunities. There’s no better time for business leaders to recognise the crucial role we play in smoothing the impact of Brexit on the world of work.
1. Keep calm and hold steady
During times of uncertainty, the knee-jerk reaction is often adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach. Or, worse, panic. The right reaction for businesses is to keep calm and carry on – it’s business as usual, until proven otherwise.
2. Remember the UK labour market is strong
Unemployment is close to 5% and workforce participation is at a high of 74%, almost 10% better than in the US. On paper, the UK economy is one of the healthiest in Europe, even the world. What we know for sure is that nimbleness, and being ready to adapt to changing circumstances, will be critical during this time.
3. Protect the UK employer brand
The mobility of talent has been the key to helping businesses fill vacancies, particularly in shortage sectors including construction and healthcare. The UK must be seen to be open for business, which means open to talent coming to the UK. Employers must influence the UK Government to retain the competitive advantage that means businesses can source talent beyond borders.
4. Overcome the great divide
Brexit has highlighted that communities feel disenfranchised and disconnected. As businesses, we all have a responsibility to ensure we are a positive contributor to societal change. Investing in people and upskilling programmes aligned to business needs will drive sustainability and employability for the long term. Employers need to become more trusted and build stronger cultures, which welcome diversity. How employers treat their people has a knock-on effect within communities.
5. First and foremost, look after your people
Having access to a skilled workforce is crucial for national prosperity and companies alike. Business leaders should make clear that EU talent is valued and essential in their organisations and that they won’t stop welcoming the people they need to remain competitive. As a result, tell your own people first to make sure the message is loud and clear.
6. What lies ahead after Brexit
While the Government works out the course the UK will steer over the next few weeks, months and years, business leaders cannot afford to wait. Employers should show the world and their employees that the UK continues to welcome and value international talent. That’s exactly what our organisation is doing and we’re proud to work with many others who share this focus.
Mark Cahill, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup UK commented: “Although access to the best talent will continue to be an issue for the UK employment market, ManpowerGroup is well placed to help organisations as experts in the labour market both in the UK and across Europe. As we’ve done throughout many challenging periods in the past, we will continue to work closely in supporting our clients as we continue to power the world of work.”