The Post-Brexit Future for UK Recruitment

The Post-Brexit Future for UK Recruitment

The effects of the June 23 vote to leave the European Union are already making themselves felt before anything is enshrined or dismantled, so here are five of the biggest ones that the UK’s recruitment companies can expect to feel.

Economic health and growth

Of course growth (or lack of) has a significant effect on whether businesses want to employ new staff. Sometimes, however, the fear of a recession is as bad as the event itself, with managers hesitating to hire.

Whether or not the UK leaves the Single Market will be the biggest indicator of a recession (or not). Leaving will cause a recession, even pro-Leavers agree, so this is the single biggest factor to watch out for.


Markets don’t like uncertainty. However, in times of uncertainty, temporary or short-term contract sectors perform better than the permanent markets. As long as the uncertainty remains, and as long as we don’t know whether Scotland will leave the UK, recruitment companies will have to decide whether to focus on their temp or perm desks.

Outcomes of trade negotiations

Until some firm trade deals are in the bag, the UK doesn’t know whether some types of client demand will fall or whether there’ll be several whole new types.

If the UK’s trading partners and blocs shift hugely, there’ll be the need for new skills, new languages, new work permit and travel visa arrangements. This could mean lots of additional work coming in if there’s still Single Market access, or it could mean a transformation. Whatever happens, only the recruitment companies with an agile attitude will stand to gain.

Freedom of movement

This is the big hot potato –┬áif freedom of movement is restricted or ended, there will be huge impacts on the UK’s recruitment industry, as well as most other industries. The NHS, for example, relies on foreign workers, as do a lot of the UK’s agriculture and other low-paid sectors. If this flow of people stops, there will be worker shortages.

Additionally, many EU workers will decide to go home, leading to an outward flow of skilled and unskilled workers. They could be replaced from Commonwealth countries, but either way, big changes will happen.

Changes to employment regulations

Post-Brexit changes to employment regulation will influence the recruitment industry, with possibly a shift away from permanent jobs to temporary. Or it could go the other way! Only time will tell, and only savvy agencies will reap the rewards!