by Michael Cheary
The British people have given their instruction: they want to leave the EU.
However you voted, Britain’s decision to leave will, inevitably, have some ramifications on the job market – even if it’s too early to say exactly what they’ll be.
To help try and make sense, here are our answers to the five questions about Brexit we’re being asked the most…
1. How will my job prospects be affected?
The simple answer is that it’s too early to tell.
It’s true that some businesses warned that they may consider relocating if the UK left the EU. And some economists have predicted tough times financially, even suggesting that a recession is possible.
However, it could take years for the decision to leave to take effect, meaning that things shouldn’t change too much in the short term, at the very least.
In fact, for all the speculation around economic turmoil, almost one in three employers we surveyed immediately after the result was announced believe Brexit will have a positive impact on the jobs market.
And with no apparent drop in job applications on reed.co.uk, and a record number of vacancies still on offer, it’s clear that for most recruiters, it’s business as usual.
2. I’m from an EU country: is my job in the UK protected?
The government has indicated that any EU nationals who came to the UK legally, under rules which existed (and still exist) at the time of entry, will be welcome to remain in the UK.
They’ve also indicated that British businesses which currently employ staff from other EU nations will not be made to give them up. However, this is not something they can necessarily guarantee, and will largely be based on the outcome of future lengthy negotiations.
If you’re worried about your employment status, we recommend speaking to a member of your HR team for more information.
3. How will my salary and working rights be affected?
This will largely depend on the resulting state of the economy – as well as your industry and individual role.
Employers will still have to honour the National Minimum Wage and new National Living Wage. But if there is a significant financial downturn, your promotion or pay rise prospects may be diminished.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some contract legislation, such as working time regulations and the rights of agency workers, may have been informed by EU regulations – and could, therefore, be subject to change. Although this is all yet to be confirmed.
Once again, if you’re worried, we would advise speaking to your HR department.
4. I’m a UK citizen: will I still be able to work in Europe?
In theory, it will, eventually, become more complex for UK workers to find work in the EU because of Brexit.
The populations of member states of the EU are entitled to free movement of labour across the union. If the UK is no longer a member – and therefore no longer subject to free movement of labour – it could be harder to secure work in any one of the remaining 27 countries of the EU.
As a result, in time, you may need a visa or work permit to work in these countries, which may make securing a job in the EU less straightforward than it is currently.
However, this all depends on the eventual agreement we make when we leave – and any potential deals could still include free movement as a condition.
5. Which sectors will be most affected by Brexit?
Industries which rely heavily on trade with the EU are most likely to see an impact from Brexit.
Some examples include financial services, tourism, the automotive industry and manufacturing. The NHS may also be affected, with large numbers of non-UK workers, including thousands from the EU, making up the workforce.
Whilst the outcome of the referendum and the instruction from the British people is clear, the process, timings and impact of exiting the EU are far from apparent. As a result, knowing for sure what will happen in the jobs market is extremely difficult.
It’s important to remember that the referendum does not guarantee a Brexit – and even if it does – it may take years for all the changes to be put into place, and any impact on UK jobs to be fully understood.