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Brexit and Jobs: The UK job market after leaving the EU

Written by Andrew Arkley

Brexit and jobs


Brexit and Jobs: The UK job market after leaving the EU

If you’re currently seeking a job in the run up to Brexit, you likely have many questions about the effect Brexit will have on your job search and prospects.

Just as there’s uncertainty surrounding the true impact of Brexit on nearly everything, the UK job market is no different, with different sources suggesting opposing views of Brexit and jobs. 

On one hand, this year the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimated an average employment rate of 76.1% between May-July 2019, the joint-highest on record since 1970. 

They reported unemployment has never been so low since 1974 and has been steadily decreasing since 2014 -despite the referendum, three years of limbo, and the original March 29th 2019 deadline having come and passed.

On the other hand, due to Brexit many companies are either going bust or leaving the country altogether - taking their jobs and prospects with them. 

Essentially, if the UK’s economy is negatively affected by Brexit as many reports suggest, companies are bound to be less likely to hire, meaning fewer job openings and therefore tougher competition for roles. 

In this blog we’ll take a broad look at Brexit and jobs, considering what experts know so far, what we might be able to predict, and how you can Brexit-proof your job search.


Brexit job losses

How many jobs will be lost after Brexit? This study by the University of Leuven predicts job losses in the UK could be around 140,000 for a soft Brexit and 526,000 for a hard Brexit. 

Many of these job losses stem from companies moving abroad; a study by the CIPD, a professional body for HR, revealed that 1 in 5 businesses say they are considering relocating their business outside of the UK due to Brexit.

And there have already been thousands of jobs lost directly due to our imminent departure from the EU. 

In May 2019, British Steel went into liquidation, with 4,000 jobs directly at risk and more jobs in the supply chain indirectly at risk.

Likewise, in preparation for Brexit and potential losses associated, Barclays Bank have moved £166 billion of assets to Ireland - creating 150 new jobs in Dublin rather than in the UK.

Car companies have also been hugely impacted, with Honda, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover cutting jobs. 


Will employers still be hiring after Brexit?

A key fear for job seekers is that employers will stop hiring because of Brexit.

Indeed, the ONS reported that while the number of job vacancies has been generally increasing since 2012, it has been falling since early 2019.

Margaret Greenwood, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “The slowdown in job creation is a concern with the current uncertainty over Brexit”.

If the trend continues as it has between January and October 2019, there will likely be many fewer vacancies on offer, unfortunately making your job search more difficult.


Brexit and jobs: The effect for EU nationals

After Brexit, EU nationals wishing to start work in the UK will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLTR), and applications from 2021 will be approved based on a skills-based immigration system. 

The government Brexit immigration document states this will be based on ‘a single system that welcomes talent, hard work, and the skills we need as a country’.

This will make it harder for EU nationals to get jobs in the UK based on more stringent immigration criteria.

EU workers will likely have to pay many fees to work in the UK, potentially costing them over £1,000, making the UK job market after Brexit less appealing for EU workers.

This works the opposite way by affecting employers. 50% of business leaders in a survey said they would be put off employing someone from the EU after immigration laws change.

And this has already had an effect, as according to the CIPD, one in ten businesses say the number of EU nationals they've recruited since the Brexit vote has decreased. 

Those already in the UK will need to apply to the EU settlement scheme, but will likely be unaffected when it comes to Brexit and jobs.


Brexit and jobs: The effect for UK nationals

If the number of EU citizens permitted to work in the UK decreases as is planned by the government, this will mean UK nationals and those already settled in the UK may have less competition for jobs. 

The government calls this ‘an immigration system that is fair to working people here at home’.


How can I protect my job search against Brexit?

In this period of Brexit uncertainty, and with fewer job posts available, now more than ever you need to make your job applications as effective as possible.

If you’re currently in a job, consider waiting longer to hand in your notice so that you’re not caught out if there is a further job shortage after Brexit.

If you’re unemployed, consider picking up temporary work while you apply to gain experience and keep money coming in. 

Another way to ensure you’re giving yourself the best possible shot at getting an interview is to send out speculative applications. This involves contacting companies not currently advertising vacancies to see if they might have anything available or coming up.

Finally and most importantly, bullet-proof your CV. The CV is the most important part of any job application, so it needs to be perfect. This will give you the best possible chance at securing a job during Brexit uncertainty.


Brexit and jobs: A summary

In short, there’s no telling the exact relationship between Brexit and jobs, and the effect of Brexit on the job market. 

However, there are ways of protecting yourself and your prospects - by pre-planning and making sure you’re ahead of the curve. 

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of nailing an interview in this uncertain climate, PurpleCV’s professional CV writing services can create you a bespoke CV.

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