Brexit: how will it affect my workforce?


Brexit is the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue after Theresa May’s decision to postpone the Parliament vote on her Brexit Deal last week. The vote, which was due to take place on Tuesday 11 December, has been postponed so that the Prime Minister can seek reassurances from the EU on the Northern Ireland border plan and in turn, build support for the deal.

In the meantime, employers continue to ask the question: How will Brexit affect my workforce? Until all aspects of Brexit have been agreed, it is hard to predict the outcome with absolute certainty.

What do we know so far?

- Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, provision has been made for EU citizens living in the UK to obtain settled status or limited leave to remain under the EU settlement scheme. EU citizens would have until 30 June 2021 to apply for this new status.

- If a no-deal Brexit comes to pass, the position is less clear. The PM has stated that EU nationals currently living in the UK will continue to have the right to remain post-Brexit, but what the position will be for new EU arrivals to the UK after Brexit is unknown.

What does this mean for employers?

Although it is likely that EU nationals will be able to stay in the UK after Brexit and remain in their jobs, they will have to apply for settled status. It is probable that free movement will end when we leave the EU, making it much harder for EU nationals to enter the UK to work.

Employers should already be thinking about their workforce planning measures. ONS statistics show that the number of EU citizens arriving has fallen to its lowest point in four years. The latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD revealed that 44% of UK employers had found it “more difficult” to fill vacancies in their organisation over the past 12 months. Both points indicate that the UK is becoming a less attractive destination for EU nationals to come to work. 

As a result, employers are having to look further afield to locate skilled workers. In the year to September 2018, the number of work-related visas issued to workers from outside the EU increased 5% on the previous year, according to Home Office Statistics.

Ben Wilmott, head of public policy at the CIPD said: “This latest turbulence is a reminder that we are facing a significant disruption to the UK economy. It’s really crucial employers start to workforce plan, really understand the make-up of their workforce, look at what they require as a business and start thinking about how they are going to adapt their recruitment and people management practices to make sure they are able to recruit as wide a talent pool as possible.”

Get ahead of the game…

With fewer skilled EU nationals entering the UK, we may face skills shortages. The best way to prepare is to pre-empt this skills shortfall and invest in training current staff to meet future business needs.

At PETA, we have almost 200 courses to choose from, in subjects such as management and leadership, computer software training, customer service, engineering and health and safety.

Alongside our schedule of open courses, we can tailor courses and content to suit your specific business needs.  In addition, the apprenticeship route could be an ideal solution for re-skilling people or preparing individual talent for management roles.

Read more about our range of corporate courses or get in touch to discuss your training requirements with a member of our team.

We also offer HR advisory and consultancy services which are the perfect solution to building a solid talent and skills management strategy, so if you feel your organisation could benefit from our knowledge, find out more about what we can offer you.  


Office of National Statistics - Migration Statistics Quarterly Report: November 2018
Home Office National Statistics – Summary of latest statics: 29 November 2018
CIPD Labour Market Outlook surveys: 12 November 2018

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