The impact of Brexit on Workforce Management

by | 19.08.2016

It’s now nearly two months since 52% of the UK public voted to leave the European Union.


The Brexit result sent shockwaves across Europe. In UK politics, it lead to the resignation of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, and was the catalyst for plunging the opposition Labour party into chaos. It’s seen the pound drop to record lows against the dollar and the Euro and interest rates cut to 0.25%, a record low, in a bid to stimulate the post-Brexit economy.


Yet at the same time July saw UK retail sales grow by 1.4% with a whopping 16.6% increase in sales of luxury goods, largely thought to be down to tourists taking advantage of a weaker pound to snap up cheaper luxury goods. Unemployment has also fallen post-Brexit, against predictions.


Two months in and it seems the only certainty is uncertainty. However, when it comes to workforce management in a post-Brexit world, there are a number of factors businesses should be aware of.

 

1. A changing workforce

Article 50 is yet to be triggered by new PM Theresa May meaning there is no date or timeframe on Britain’s exit from the EU. What remains highly likely is all European workers currently working in the UK will need immigration permission to continue to do so once the split is complete. Currently the number of workers from outside the UK sits at 3.45 million. Post-Brexit businesses are likely to see an increase in the effort and time it takes to recruit non-UK citizens as well as an increase in cost.

In an article for CIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development), Mark Quinn, head of Mercer’s (the world’s largest HR consulting firm) talent business in the UK, said: “It’s likely that restrictions will be placed on EU workers within the UK workforce so companies should review their workforce plans… particularly retail, leisure and services employers that employ a large number of EU citizens.


“New bilateral agreements may be required for those organisations offshoring from the UK into the EU, and we will also have to wait and see if non-UK multinationals will think it still appropriate to have their European headquarters remain in London.”


This means businesses should be looking to use a workforce management solution capable of dealing with complex agreements, employee registration and rights to work to make their lives easier and ensure they’re compliant.

 

2. The importance of productivity

At a time of economic uncertainty, businesses across sectors have to accept their are political factors they won’t be able to control and instead focus on what they can do to remain competitive in a post-Brexit marketplace. Top of this list should be the aim to improve and increase productivity. This is where there is potential for companies to bring in a workforce management solution to improve the way they work. From having an ‘office in your pocket’ to being able to make better decisions, a good workforce management solution is key for businesses serious about being more productive.

 

3. An attractive UK

The tourism sector should be preparing for the potential influx of increased overseas visitors. The slump in the pound means the UK is much more attractive proposition for visitors as it’s relatively cheaper. Experts are also predicting a rise in ‘stay-cations’ as it will be much cheaper for Brits to holiday at home rather than travelling abroad. Hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions tend to rely heavily on migrant workers which further emphasises the need for them to be prepared.

 

There’s a possibility we won’t see the true impact of Brexit for a number of years but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. The best businesses are already doing this and striving to mitigate the risk Brexit has on them.

Tommy Tonkins

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