Securing your pipeline of world-class talent calls for careful planning – and plenty of imagination – says Tim Payne, Head of People and Change.
No one knows how Brexit will look in 18 months’ time. For many businesses, that uncertainty is intensified by a very real concern about the potential number of highly qualified EU staff currently in the UK who might head home – or be deterred from coming here at all.
Our recent survey on the intentions of EU nationals showed that some 35% of those we interviewed are considering leaving the UK. And it’s the young and highly educated – the most economically desirable – who are most likely to up sticks: for example, some 39% of those with postgraduate degrees and 50% of those with doctorates are seriously thinking about developing their careers elsewhere.
Firms which rely on top flight expertise – in, say, IT, engineering, scientific research or financial services – simply can’t afford to wait, fingers crossed and hoping for the best. And neither, furthermore, can those who rely on lower skilled EU staff, particularly in hospitality, agriculture and retail.
The key to securing the quality of your post-Brexit workforce lies in putting in place a clearly-defined strategy – and starting the process right now.
Businesses need to ensure they have options, whatever happens after March 2019. From a workforce perspective, that means:
With a clear flight risk in some sectors that rely heavily on highly-qualified EU staff, businesses can and should turn their attention to developing the young potential right on their doorstep.
Up until this point, employers have taken for granted a steady supply of high quality staff attracted to a career in the UK. The vote for Brexit has changed that landscape.
Innovations such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the gig economy could well play a major role in making up for a shortfall in the UK’s skilled EU workforce. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, the very nature of many of our jobs – at all levels and across most sectors – is starting to change. Maybe Brexit will be a catalyst for thinking differently about the nature of work? Thinking through the future shape and size of your workforce, regardless of Brexit, will allow you start to evolve your current workforce in creative directions.
What will the team of 2025 look like? If you start planning your post-Brexit workforce now, in an imaginative and strategic way, you’ll be able to build a globally competitive team for the new business opportunities that lie ahead.