If you believe everything you read then Brexit is to blame for almost everything. Bad weather? Brexit. The football team lost? Leave voters' fault. No lettuce at the supermarket? There was before the referendum…
Joking aside, when it comes to serious issues like employment and pay, leaving the European Union has impacted the UK. For instance, a recently published study by accountants at Deloitte raised the prospect of more than one million foreign workers leaving the UK and returning home.
Impact of Brexit.
The survey found 36% of the 3.2m non-British workers in this country were planning to move by 2022 while slightly more than a quarter were considering packing their bags earlier. At a time of severe public sector skills shortages, the last thing the country needs is a “brain drain” especially in vital areas like health and social care and education.
One glimmer of hope is that almost one-third of those surveyed said they would wait and see what Brexit looks like so the government’s promise of settlement rights could at least stem the flow of EU nationals.
Inflation vs pay.
As well as employment, Brexit has also affected how much your wages are worth. Since the referendum sterling has devalued by around 13%, which means the pound in your pocket is worthless. The fall in value is one of the reasons inflation has been on the rise recently and this is bad news for workers. The Office for National Statistics reported this month that for the first time since 2014 wages lagged behind inflation.
Without getting too technical, at the time of writing in April 2017, inflation stood at 2.6% while wage growth was 2.1%. At the end of 2017 inflation was 2.8%, wage growth 2.2%. What this means is that the cost of living is going up at a time when many workers - especially in the public sector - have been subject to a pay cap.
In this environment it’s no wonder workers - both British and foreign - are considering their next move and looking to recruiters like Randstad when weighing up their best options. If inflation continues to eat into people’s earning don’t be surprised if workers start to look at other benefits such as flexibility and work-life balance in order to mitigate the impact of reduced spending power.
Temporary contracts, long term prospects.
One option is to consider temporary contracts, which offer greater freedom to choose when and where you work as well as the added bonus of typically higher hourly rates. There’s also the possibility of adding a variety of employers to your CV and building the type of experience future employers will require.
Randstad might not be able to do anything about the weather but when it comes to employment, not even Brexit will stop us finding the right roles for the right people.
- Victoria Short is managing director of Randstad Public Services