Will the UK’s exit from the European Union affect UK Employment?

It has been almost impossible to avoid the word Brexit in recent months. While many of us would rather not forget about the whole thing, many are left wondering what impact it will have on a variety of different industries and sectors and how the UK’s economy will be impacted.

In this blog, we will explore what Brexit could mean for UK employment.

Perhaps one of the biggest questions is where can reliable information be found? The government itself seems quite shaky on the facts, and there are no official sources connected to the government that provides us with a clear answer.

What we do know is that there are approximately 2.15 million EU nationals working in the UK, making up about 7% of the workforce. Brexit may well affect this number, with some EU nationals feeling less secure in their employment and less skilled jobs becoming vacant.

Some business may relocate to Europe to remain in the single market; indeed, we have already seen capital from the financial sector move out of London to ensure they are unaffected.

Wages for low skilled employees may be impacted, potentially increasing to incentivise British Nationals to fill vacant positions.

Removal of EU directives and regulations could affect overtime rates and written statements of employment and some contract legislation could be subject to change, meaning that employees may find themselves working longer hours or with less job security. However, much of EU employment law already forms part of UK legislation. While leaving the EU will end of jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which provides guidance on cases such as employment tribunals, changes to law seems unlikely. Employees in the UK have come to expect legislative security in the workforce, regarding issues such as discrimination, and any changes would require parliamentary approval; the government would need to consider if reform is desirable.

Wages will largely depend on the economy, as well as industry and individual role within a company. Employers are still legally obliged to adhere to minimum wage requirements. However, if the economy takes a significant financial downturn, promotion or pay rise prospects may well diminish.

Industries that rely heavily on trade with the UK are most likely to be impacted; these include financial services, tourism, the automotive industry and manufacturing. The NHS could also be profoundly affected due to a large proportion of the workforce being made up of non-UK workers.

However, in the most part, this is all speculative. Currently, the job market still appears to be booming and, for most recruiters, it is very much business as usual, and the government has stated that EU Nationals who live in the UK legally, will be welcome to stay.

As the UK enters its eleven-month transition period, nothing will immediately change. Only time will tell how the economy and job market fairs. However, the team at CareerJuice will be keeping a close eye on evolving events, to ensure we can adapt to change as it happens.