Executive Recruiters and the Brexit

Posted by The Garner Group on Sep 13 2016


With the 5th largest economy (by GDP), the United Kingdom and its political status have a wide reaching impact on the economic and industrial future of virtually every country in the world. An integral part of any company and its ultimate success is its hiring practices. As such, the Brexit will likely have an impact on hiring trends abroad, as well as in the U.S. The exact impact is yet to be seen, but we can offer a high-level assessment of the Brexit’s implications when it comes to recruiting and hiring practices.

Where Will Companies Invest?

Hiring changes in the wake of the Brexit will depend largely on which companies decide to stay in the UK and grow their presence there, and which decide to leave. Some flagship companies like GlaxoSmithKline have already announced plans to continue to invest in Great Britain. For their part, GSK will be investing more than $350 million in three new UK-based drug manufacturing sites, which will certainly mean a hiring spree at some point. However, other companies have not been so quick to decide. Indeed, many companies may be employing a more “wait and see” approach, not making any key decisions until the Brexit has actually taken effect. Companies that decide to curb UK investments will likely leave some gaps and perhaps higher unemployment rates than the best executive search firms would have otherwise predicted.

Look to Life Sciences

Life sciences companies like GSK are integral to the UK economy and in some ways, what those companies choose to do about the Brexit will be an important indicator for the rest of the economy. Companies with headquarters in the UK are unlikely to pick up and more quickly, but at some point they will need to find a way to work with both the UK and the EU. This is particularly challenging in the life sciences arena since thorough approval processes for things like pharmaceuticals will need to be revisited as the UK disentangles itself from the EU.

In terms of hiring, this could mean a shakeup where it is more difficult, if not impossible, for UK-based companies to hire technically skilled workers from the EU. This could send salaries spiking and even open up opportunities for US talent.

US Recruiters May See More Foreign Candidates

At the best executive search firms in the U.S., the Brexit could also have an impact in terms of what types of candidates are available. Fearing instability and uncertainty, more UK workers, and EU workers who currently work in the UK may be interested in exploring US-based opportunities. While international recruitment is a skillset on its own, the Brexit may find more recruiters in the US exploring those possibilities.

Ultimately, we are not sure what overall effect the Brexit will have on hiring or the global economy until it actually happens. There will almost certainly be a far-reaching impact as the world scurries to find stability in the wake of such a major economic and political shakeup.

Topics: recruiters, executive search

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