More or less for in or out – What effect will Brexit have on the job market?
Without a doubt, the Brexit referendum was one of the biggest shake-ups in British politics for many years. There have been many, in fact seemingly endless, discussions ranging from the academic through to childish bouts of name calling. In the end, though, as always seem to be the case, everyday life continues. While we all enjoy a good debate about the big issues over a coffee or around the water cooler, come Monday morning the work goes on.
Availability of jobs
One thing that is high on the agenda for discussion at the moment is the effect of Brexit on the availability of jobs. After the vote had come in, there were many and varied dire warnings about the impact on available jobs. However, this doesn’t seem to have come about and now, months after the initial dust has died down, the job market is buoyant. In fact, we are are still seeing a skills gap in some areas and almost full employment overall.
Back in the Summer, there were quite a few predictions of a new slump and even the dreaded ‘recession’ word was bandied around. With that comes the threat of rising unemployment. So far it hasn’t happened. Just prior to Christmas there was a fall in unemployment to around 4.8% which is not only a good figure, it bucks the expected trend and is an 11-year low.
There’s a long way to go
We do need to be careful of relaxing too much, though. We need to remember that there is a long way still to go before the actual exit from the EU. At the moment existing deals and the long-term contracts are still in place. The market may react to the actual terms of exit in a much more volatile way.
At the moment, the export industries are benefitting from a weaker pound because that makes British goods cheaper and lower cost means more and bigger orders, and that means jobs in the supply chain. Again though, it is all swings and roundabouts because the cost of importing is pretty much controlled by the dollar rate. So if you are a business that trades in dollars you probably have much less to celebrate at the moment if the exchange rate stays the same. The other issue to consider here is that the dollar rate sets the price of fuel, and rising petrol prices at the pump are never good for trade overall. The knock-on effect of an increase in the price of oil affects all business because it impacts on the cost of energy supply for both gas and electricity.
Yet another unknown is the effect of a potential change in the availability of EU nationals. This is not just about incoming workers or changes to the right to work. At the moment that low unemployment rate means that there are more than enough workers for the available jobs. Some industries may well struggle to find people for their vacancies if Brexit results in fewer EU migrant workers. That said, we have to remember that one thing we do well in this country is adapt. The skills gap is not going to be solved by migrant workers, but it may well be by creating a series of measures to encourage a new wave of workers into key roles.
One thing is for certain though, and that is that nobody is really sure what will happen or how things will roll out. The chain of circumstance that leads to the availability of an admin assistant job in a business in Stockport is just too long and too complex to call accurately. So, well, our advice is continuing as normal, and we will carry on finding the perfect candidates for the perfect job.