EU nationals & post-Brexit: 9% tackled details with employer

EU nationals & post-Brexit: 9% tackled details with employer

KPMG conducted a survey looking into how Brexit uncertainty is currently impacting employees in the industry

KPMG recently announced the results of a post-Brexit survey, involving 4,015 members of the British public. The focus was on “how few UK businesses are talking to their employees about the implications of Brexit – and how only a minority of workers believe their employers are prepared for the changes ahead.”

The resulting figures could of course be caused by the fact that employers’ themselves are uncertain as to how to proceed when so little has been officially decided by the government.

James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG UK, said: “As business gears up to talk to the public about Brexit, it’s worrying to hear how few firms seem to have spoken to their employees about the changes that lie ahead. This leaves workers less well prepared to anticipate and back the changes that may be needed to position companies for growth.”

According to KPMG’s survey, 38% of employees revealed that their employer had at least explained the implications of Brexit. Furthermore, 39% said that they felt their employer had adequately prepared for how Brexit will impact the workplace and the business itself.

The report stated that “the sectors where workers felt the most informed and positive about preparations were: manufacturing and industry (49% and 51%), and professional services (48% and 51%). The sector where workers felt the least informed and positive about preparations was: healthcare (33% and 33%).”

Even though these sectors have provided a higher level of certainty, clearly there is more that needs to be done in order to ascertain that businesses can maintain stability, as well as allowing for potential growth.

Stewart continued: “The public’s perceptions of whether the Brexit options will be good or bad for the country is highly related to whether their employer has explained Brexit. This means business could have a decisive impact on the Brexit debate if it were successfully mobilised.”

KPMG also included in the survey the question of how many EU nationals living and working in the UK felt like their employers had explained what Brexit might bring. A worrying low percentage (9%) believed that their employer had explained what Brexit might mean for them in detail. 20% reported that their employer had explained what Brexit could mean for them, but only in basic terms, and 48% admitted that their employer had not explained what Brexit might mean for themselves or their organisation.

In response to these statistics, Punam Birly, employment and immigration partner at KPMG UK, said: “Despite this group being a particular flight risk, it looks like businesses aren’t doing enough to discuss Brexit with their EU nationals. Now is the time to be talking to all your workforce, dispelling myths, and explaining the support on offer. Given the potential impact of losing key staff, the cost of recruitment, and the emphasis most businesses place on the role of their people, engaging with employees on Brexit makes good business sense.”

EU nationals are not the only group to be concerned about their employment prospects and the lack of information being supplied by employers. 62% of young people aged between 18-24 consider it very likely that a ‘no deal’ will result in job losses in the UK.

This has shown to decrease with each age band, KPMG has reported, with the lowest percentage logged highlighting job prospect concerns belonging to the 65+ category, at 36%.

With a draft Brexit deal to present at an emergency EU Summit, the prime minister should hopefully be able to provide a more detailed report as to what is in store for the UK over the next few years.

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