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The Brexit outlook for recruiters

Wednesday 20th February 2019

Sterling - The Brexit outlook for recruiters

The recruitment industry has been speculating about the impact of Brexit for well over two years.  Many recruiters are fed up of hearing about it, others can talk about little else.  Whatever your viewpoint on Brexit what most recruiters have in common is that they would like more clarity and to be better prepared.

As 29th March grows closer, we are all waiting for the picture to become clearer but the truth is that the situation is still extremely uncertain. Predictions and speculation are just that at this stage and that makes it a difficult situation to prepare for.

However frustrating the current uncertainty may be there are still some key areas that recruiters can consider and prepare for. Those who have already considered how they will approach different potential outcomes will be in a stronger position to respond to challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

Preparing for Brexit

Freedom of movement and skills shortages

Recruiters in some sectors have reported shortages of available candidates since the referendum result and it is anticipated that if the UK leaves the EU at the end of March then shortages will increase.

The hospitality sector is one example with restaurants and hotels claiming that European workers have begun to head for home or have moved on to find work elsewhere in the world. The story in the health sector is the same. Hospitals are struggling to recruit medical staff from healthcare assistants and nurses through to specialist consultants. Construction is also heavily reliant on workers from EU countries and feeling the strain.

Recruiters working in these sectors will already be facing challenges when it comes to sourcing individuals with the right skills but with skills shortages come opportunities too. The upside of this situation is that employers tend to become more dependent on recruiters. They will look to work with specialist recruiters, those with knowledge of the industry and and an in-depth understanding of the specific roles they are recruiting for.

The economy and uncertainty

If the pound falls, as many have predicted could happen, then that will have an impact on businesses. It will make the UK a less attractive destination for workers from overseas and it may make employers reluctant to commit to taking on new staff.

Some businesses will need labour but will be nervous about recruiting. This presents an opportunity for recruiters to provide flexible workforces. Filling gaps where employers require more staff in the immediate future but are too uncertain about what the future holds to make permanent hires.


What is true is that whatever the outcome there will be opportunities for recruitment agencies and individual recruiters who are prepared to adapt and face the challenges head on. There may be greater demand for temporary workers or more reliance on agencies to supply individuals with very specific or specialist skills. Experienced recruiters will be able to draw on their knowledge and expertise to offer support to employers and advice to those looking for new career opportunities.  Building working relationships and taking the time to work closely with clients and candidates will potentially be more important than ever.

Here at Sterling we endeavour to support agencies at all times, including periods of uncertainty, ensuring that a number of employment responsibilities are taken care of on behalf of a recruiter, therefore leaving them free to focus on navigating the impact of Brexit.

If you are looking to work with a reliable umbrella company, contact the Sterling team today to discuss your requirements.

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