The Post Brexit Talent Challenge

The Post Brexit Talent Challenge

Is it tougher to attract great talent in a post-Brexit world? 

Brexit. One of the most controversial and talked about events of the last decade is close to becoming a reality. As March 2019 looms large, we want to take a closer look at the impact of Brexit on the talent community. Are these uncertain times keeping the top international talent away from the UK? And could we see the loss of vital talent already embedded across the workforce? We may be several months away from the implementation of a final Brexit deal, but the waves of change triggered by this historic vote are already beginning to make themselves felt.


Is Brexit Already Having an Impact?

Recent numbers from the Office for National Statistics could maker worrying reading for employers who rely on European talent. In the year post-Brexit vote, there has been a drop in net migration of 106,000, with significant reductions from EU citizens, notably those from France, Germany, and Spain. This is the largest drop since records began in 1964. Another worrying trend was the decrease in EU job seekers coming to the UK, a number which has halved in the 12 months since the Brexit vote.

But although these numbers are interesting, they don’t provide an insight into how EU citizens feel about coming to live, work or study in the UK. A recent study by professional services firm KPMG suggests that it’s a complex picture for EU nationals. 8% of the 2000 EU citizens surveyed said they were planning to leave post-Brexit while 35% were undecided about what to do next. 50% of EU nationals surveyed in the UK felt less welcome and valued than they did in the past. It seems that the emotional response to this political situation could be what drives away talented European colleagues. 

An interesting aspect of the KPMG survey results is in the groups of people most likely to leave the UK as a result of Brexit. Both the most highly qualified and highly paid participants showed a greater preference to leave than any other group. This could indicate the potential for a significant gap in the top tier of the jobs market. Something which would no doubt cause a headache for UK organisations. 


What’s the Reality for Employers?

Businesses are already seeing an increase in competition for highly skilled EU workers. This, coupled with an existing talent shortage and a reduction in European students coming to the UK to study creates worrying prognosis for the UK talent market. Another issue impacting organisations is the lack of a concrete Brexit deal. Right now, businesses simply don’t know exactly how Brexit will play out, preventing them from creating long-term strategies or taking affirmative action. But the Brexit story isn’t entirely dark. Against this challenging backdrop, some organisations are taking an innovative approach, finding ways to improve candidate engagement, harness technology and stand out as a ‘most-wanted’ employer in their sector. Brexit is making it harder to attract talent, meaning organisations have to up their game when it comes to finding and engaging the top candidates.


How Can Employers Combat the ‘Brexit’ Effect?

The talent landscape today is complex. The market in many sectors is skills short and Brexit adds another layer of difficulty in the search for the best people. This means that employers simply can’t rely on the same methods they have done before. They cannot wait for top talent to come knocking at their door. Instead, they must take a proactive approach to connect with candidates and potential future candidates. Candidates who may have an uncertain emotional reaction to working in the UK. They must create a winning employer brand and offer an environment where talent can be nurtured and grown. In other words, they need to work harder to be a place where the best people want to be. It’s also essential that they create a clearly outlined talent strategy and diverse talent pipeline to futureproof against potential skills shortages.

Access to top suppliers can help employers face the legal and regulatory challenges presented by Brexit as well as providing them with support in sourcing and engaging the best candidates the EU has to offer. For overstretched talent teams, collaboration with a talent partner can be an invaluable resource, particularly in these uncertain times.

Get it touch with Kelly Project Resourcing who provides a wide range of talent services through a unique plug and play model. Helping you to access just the support you need, whenever and wherever you need it most.


Brexit is coming, and it’s already changing how you access EU talent. Make sure your organisation is prepared to succeed in a post-Brexit world.