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Nearly one-third of CFOs moving staff abroad due to Brexit

18 / 05 / 2018

The number of businesses expecting to relocate staff to the EU from the UK because of Brexit is on the rise.

Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of chief financial officers now believe they'll need to shift their employees overseas, according to a new Thomson Reuters survey. This is up by ten percentage points since the summer of 2017.

The results echo a recent LinkedIn and Financial Times analysis of the jobs market, which showed a notable change in the flow of workers going in and out of Britain.

LinkedIn's figures revealed migration from the EU27 countries to the UK has dropped 26 per cent over the 12 months. Britain also suffered a net loss of talent in the first quarter of this year, with the number of professionals leaving for Europe outpacing the proportion of incoming workers from the EU.

Businesses remain in 'wait-and-see' mode

The Thomson Reuters study showed more than half (51 per cent) of employers don't expect to either increase or decrease their headcounts in the UK - up from 44 per cent in December.

"Businesses appear to be holding fast to a 'wait-and-see' attitude, and a sizable minority (37 per cent) have held off from investing in the UK, which suggests that the full impact is yet to be felt," said Laurence Kiddle, managing director for the EMEA Tax and Accounting unit at Thomson Reuters.

Nevertheless, employers appear to be gaining confidence across Britain, with businesses more optimistic about the UK government's ability to negotiate a favourable deal for the country.

On a scale of one to ten, confidence in prime minister Theresa May jumped from 3.25 to 4.5, while Brexit secretary David Davis' score rose from 3.57 to 4.5.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has also reported that employers are more confident in the economy, although this is yet to have an impact on hiring plans.

Will Brexit whitepaper give greater clarity?

Uncertainty remains the biggest impediment to recruitment strategies for many employers. Since the EU referendum, the UK government has remained tight-lipped about its vision of a post-Brexit Britain.

But this may be about to change, with Ms May pledging to publish a new whitepaper that sets out "precise explanations" for the key aspects of the divorce. The best news for businesses is that the document should be out soon, with the government reportedly releasing it ahead of an EU summit next month.

"This will be our most significant publication on the EU since the referendum," said Mr Davis. "It will communicate our ambition for the UK's future relationship with the EU, in the context of our vision for the UK's future role in the world."

Employers and candidates across the UK will no doubt be eagerly waiting to see whether or not the whitepaper brings much-needed transparency to a Brexit process that has been largely opaque up until now.

Has Brexit had a significant impact on you? Whether you are an employer or candidate, we'd love to hear from you, so please contact Barclay Simpson on 0207 936 2601 to see how we can meet your needs. 

Our 2018 Market Reports combine our review of the prevailing conditions in the corporate governance recruitment market with the results of our latest employer survey.

Image credit: iv-serg via iStock

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