How is 'Brexit' having an effect on hiring? For businesses of all sizes

Does anyone really know the true impact of either outcome? Whether Britain remains in the EU or votes to leave? The various political parties are putting forward their arguments and over the past week a number of FTSE's top executives have added their support to the “Remain” campaign, but isn’t that just down to “the devil you know”?

The bottom line is no-one knows for sure what impact an “Out” vote would have on the UK economy and this uncertainty is having a real impact on today’s employment market.

As a secretarial/administrative agency working with some of the UK’s biggest businesses as well as some of the smallest, we are on the coal-face and are seeing an impact.

1.      Hiring freezes – whilst not entirely attributable to Brexit, the debate is certainly playing its part

A number of big businesses have introduced headcount freezes. Some are making redundancies and some are not replacing employees who are leaving. In many cases, this means that a PA supporting two or three individuals is now being asked to support four plus.

2.      Smaller companies’ plans on hold 

Many SMEs have put hiring plans on hold until after the Brexit referendum. Growth targets have been revised as a direct result of growing uncertainty in the market and employers have become more bearish in their approach since the start of the year.

3.      Candidates who were planning to move jobs have decided to stay put or are looking re-actively rather than proactively

Job seekers, and particularly those providing support at a senior level, have put their plans to find a new job on hold. If they haven’t, then many are taking a more reactive approach by registering on job sites and with recruitment agencies JUST IN CASE an “amazing” opportunity comes in. This has had an impact on agencies because the “replacement” market is markedly down on expectations carried over from 2015.

4.      Strong Candidate market in secretarial arena non existent 

It was widely forecast that 2016 would see a strong candidate market in the secretarial/administrative space. This has turned on its head as expected high volumes of new jobs have not materialised and candidates are staying put. As an aside, good quality candidates are still in high demand and are being snapped up quickly.

5.      Further salary climbs on hold

Tiger Recruitment saw salary levels climb 10-20% in 2015. Levels were expected to increase c5-10% in 2016. Brexit and other wider market forces have amended this forecast to 0-5%.

In short, many businesses have put their hiring plans on ice. Should Britain decide to stay in the EU on June 23rd, then the status quo is likely to return to normal very quickly. In the event Britain votes to leave, then it could be some time until we see the return to 2015 levels of hiring in the secretarial/administrative market. Wider market forces will surely play a part too.


David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both Employers and Job seekers on best recruitment practice.

020 7917 1801 / [email protected]

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