The view: deal or no deal

Deal or no deal? Whatever happens, recruiters will play a big part in the UK economy post-Brexit, says Neil Carberry, REC chief executive

At the party conferences the REC represented members and talked about all things that matter to jobs, where recruiters are ideally placed to help. Skills. The future of work. Inclusion. But Brexit focused most people’s minds.

Chequers, Canada, Norway… there are many options. Each with enough support to be relevant, but none commanding a majority. With only five months before Brexit day, the clock is ticking.

One thing is for certain – businesses will need to be ready with contingency plans for whatever deal or non-deal we get.

Recruiters will play a big part in helping them. EU nationals keep many sectors going, so there will be a lot to do – either helping clients negotiate new rules or finding new ways of resourcing for roles.

Having worked with corporate HR leaders, I know they will value the support recruiters can give at this critical time. 

There was mixed news for recruiters in September’s Migration Advisory Committee report on EU immigration. We would have liked to have seen more recognition of the shortages you all report in lower skilled roles. 

But equally, the MAC report highlighted the benefits of mobility to skills and productivity – delivered at no significant cost to wage growth or UK citizen employment. We’ll use this to make a case for an immigration system that allows employers to hire at all skill levels, and for individuals to hold the right to work once they get here – so they can take on temporary roles if they wish. 

Whatever the final outcome, a transition to a new system is essential. It was good to see reports that even in the event of a ‘no deal’ the Home Office is arguing in government for a two-year transition period for immigration rules. That’s the right choice – everyone in the REC is working to give the sector a smooth transition, not the dreaded cliff edge.

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twitter @RECNeil

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