Britain’s exit from the EU is set for the 29th March 2019. This deadline is fast approaching and there is a level of uncertainty across the broad remit of UK-based industries, as the government is yet to agree upon the exit deal.
A hard Brexit could see the collapse of many industries, as trading routes are changed, cut off and overall production is delayed. For example, the UK property market could collapse if the Bank of England is forced to raise interest rates sharply.
Experts believe that a hard Brexit will only have one certain outcome and that is a recession. The UK economy will be hit hard by a no-deal Brexit, meaning that there will be fewer job vacancies for graduates and job seekers. The question of a hard Brexit is not so much, whether there will be a recession, but how quickly UK business will be able to bounce back.
How will business be affected by a hard Brexit?
Many studies have been conducted in the wake of Brexit discussions, but one of the most prevalent is the fact that a fifth of surveyed UK firms stated that they would cut and in some cases halt employment in the event of a hard Brexit.
It’s likely that with a hard Brexit, that the economy would suffer greatly. Many experts fear that without securing a deal with the EU, the UK property market and banks would crash, leaving the country in recession. Because if this, businesses will be tightening their belts in every way that they can. Although graduates are desirable candidates for many businesses, in the event of a recession, skilled workers, who have experience in the field will be favoured every time.
The graduate market is oversaturated, meaning that many industries are very competitive for graduate employment. In order to be considered for many sought after positions, you have to be a high achiever, with a good degree from a reputable university, experience is always welcomed too. This competition will only become more intense in the event of a hard Brexit, as businesses will be less inclined to hire graduates, unless they have a reasonable amount of knowledge and will be willing to work for a lower wage.
This means that graduates will be a less desirable option for employers to choose, as they will have to make a conscious effort to employ those who have industry experience. As it stands, the graduate job market is extremely competitive, with hundreds of thousands of young people graduating from university every year. This market is set to becoming increasingly competitive regardless of a hard or soft Brexit.
The British Chambers of Commerce have recently surveyed 2500 participants, all of which being firms and business owners. Around 18% of these respondents have indicated that recruitment would be halted if no deal is agreed upon. In addition to this, 21% of business owners agreed that they would also reduce investment in their business.
Many business owners will halt growth in the wake of Brexit, as we are entering a period of financial uncertainty. Although there is no real evidence that a recession will happen in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, experts have calculated an extremely high probability.
A Hard Brexit could also see many international businesses that are currently based in the UK, to relocate to a different country. It’s been said that many global businesses are already considering to relocate to EU27 countries following the no-deal scenario. With May failing to get the approval from.
Employment Law in the wake of Brexit
Government officials have stressed that there will be no real change to UK employment law after Britain leaves the European Union, however, this is yet to be finalised.
If everything remains the same, then the UK will still offer maternity leave, holiday hours, sick pay and other amenities and protective legislation. There is a high possibility that the UK legislation will simply be holding a mirror up to the existing EU legislation. Experts were once worried that this would not be the case and that UK citizens would be worse off after Brexit.
Government officials have stated that it is likely that all of the current EU employment laws and other EU law will be reflected in the new UK law. The official legislation is set to be released either sometime after or before Britain takes its leave from the EU.
The Other Side Of The Medal: UK Graduates Abroad
It has been estimated that over 900.000 UK citizens are working abroad, whether if in Europe or elsewhere. With this in mind, in the last couple of months, we’ve seen a considerably rising concern from these professionals, who are (in fact) worried about their employment status in case of a no-deal scenario. It’s always a good idea to speak with immigration solicitors to get a second opinion.
This is a crucial aspect within the whole Brexit game since it impacts both the companies which relocated UK citizens and, clearly, themselves: as a domino effect, we can safely state that a no-deal scenario will cause several bureaucratic problems within blue chip companies with many offices in Europe. The fear of a no-deal Brexit has been quoted by many as a “possible crisis”, which is something to look after, especially from this business side of things.
As we all know, GDPR has been a major focus for certain businesses in 2018 and has created thousands of vacancies ranging from admin to the technical sphere. This is incredibly important, given the fact that no one knows what will happen in case of a no-deal Brexit. Of course, given the fact that the UK was included into the original GDPR plan, this shouldn’t change, but there have been some questions raised on the matter recently (although GDPR isn’t that impactful, from a market’s perspective).
With this in mind, GDPR-related professionals are still a considerable part of the entire job market, and, given the fact that they normally fall into a graduate-working and development scheme, this could be extremely relevant to Brexit as a whole. This could also lead to an intensified employment screening process in the future.
When it comes to dealing with Brexit projections, whether in case of a deal/no-deal scenario, it’s important to understand the fact that this will start to impact businesses and workers after 2021 when all these data will be actually put into action by the government.
With this in mind, panicking over projections at the moment (and given the fragility of the overall matter) is pretty futile as the whole plan is most likely to change in the next couple of months. For now, we can safely say that graduate employment will keep on going as for now, given the fact that VISAs are still not required on both ends (UK citizens working in the EU and EU citizens working in the UK.)
As feared by many, a no-deal Brexit will naturally drive the business-side of things towards critical changes, both from an architectural point of view, but also from a bureaucratic one. As said above, things are very uncertain at the moment and are most likely to remain in the same limbo for at least a couple of months after March 29th.
Graduate employment is something that will definitely suffer in case of a no-deal Brexit but, as said multiple times, we just have to wait and see what and how the EU will react to the current plans the UK has.
Richard has an interest in Brexit and works with the Immigration Advice Service to better inform business owners on employability in a post-Brexit UK.