Since the Brexit vote last summer, businesses up and down the country have faced unprecedented levels of uncertainty, as they watch and wait to see how leaving the EU will affect their prospects. I’ve spoken to countless business owners since June, who feel they are in limbo; waiting to see how everything from their operations to marketing will be impacted once Article 50 is triggered.
However, there’s one area where Brexit has already undermined UK businesses’ ability to compete – and it’s an area that organisations should be addressing now to avoid falling behind in the future.
At LinkedIn, we’ve analysed the behaviour of more than 3.5m of our users to see what impact the Brexit vote has had on the attractiveness of UK jobs to international talent. The results are dramatic – interest in UK jobs from overseas professionals plummeted by 10% between May and July last year, and by 18% when it comes to EU talent specifically.
Our data also shows that the financial services industry is one of the most at-risk – with the number of professionals worldwide seeking jobs at finance firms in the UK dropping by 12% since the Brexit vote. This drop is exacerbated by the fact that UK professionals have become slightly more likely to seek jobs overseas too.
Our findings are clear; Britain is facing a post-Brexit talent shortage, and financial services businesses are likely to be one of the worst affected. Fortunately, there are solutions that could help you to Brexit-proof your talent pipeline now.
Analyse your talent pipeline
As a first step, every employer reliant on international talent should be analysing their talent pipeline to understand from where they source the skills they need – and how exposed they are to the sudden drop in interest in working in the UK. Every business should be looking further ahead to get as much long-term visibility around their hiring strategies as possible.
Upskill your current workforce
Once you’ve figured out how likely you are to face challenges in sourcing top recruits, now is the time to build your resilience by strengthening your domestic talent pipeline. There’s a real opportunity for UK talent here, and all businesses should be looking at their current employees to see if there’s scope to upskill and invest in their development.
For financial services, businesses reliant on graduates or apprentices, now is also a great time to identify where domestic talent will come from in the future. Pinpointing universities and colleges attended by would-be recruits and partnering with them to offer training to make sure that students are “business ready” by the time they leave, is one way of nurturing the next generation of professionals.
Build your talent brand
Overall, the UK has become less attractive to international job seekers – but even in challenging circumstances, companies who have a reputation as excellent employers, with strong values and a clear purpose can recruit top talent.
So, ask yourself, is there unexplored potential to make your business stand out as an employer of choice? In the fiercely competitive financial services talent market, this becomes vitally important and needs to be emphasised. Don’t sell your business short – professionals need to be able to easily identify and associate with your company’s values and purpose, so make sure your organisation’s employer brand is actively being built and invested in.
It’s easy to feel like you’re in limbo, and to focus on the cloud of uncertainty that still surrounds Brexit – but there are steps your business can take now. Whilst it’s impossible to be completely in control at this stage, I urge every business to plan ahead and get in front of the things they can.
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