Whether you voted Leave or Remain, it is abundantly clear that Brexit is happening. At Tangent, we have been planning for the impact of Brexit, because we’ve been ensuring that tech talent flows from Europe into the UK for over 30 years.
It has taken time for Brexit to really begin to affect the technology jobs market. After the vote, the main issue we experienced was reassuring EU candidates – which had already accepted job offers with UK organisations – that they would be given the right to remain post-Brexit. Originally, in our professional opinion, we felt confident the government would grant ‘right to remain’ to these candidates, and we were pleased that this part of the Brexit negation was over.
However, as we move closer and closer to B-Day we are beginning to notice several trends in the market.
First, even with the government’s agreement that existing EU citizens would be given right to remain, tech continental candidates are avoiding applying for jobs in the UK because of the uncertainty of their status after Brexit. The fact that this has been a contentious issue at the negotiating table in Brussels, has eroded the confidence of skilled professionals have in being based in the UK long term. At Tangent, we have seen a 15% reduction in EU candidates applying for new jobs in the UK compared to last year. Consequently, candidates that are already in the UK are gaining more and more power when it comes to negotiating for new opportunities. Lucky them.
Secondly, this talent drought is further compounded by the systemic failures across the current Work Permit scheme, which the UK operates for workers outside the UK. As it has been widely reported, the UK continues to hit its cap on Work Permits for highly skills non-EU workers. This news is a big story because of the effect it’s having on the NHS; however, it is also stopping highly skilled tech professionals – particularly Project Managers – from gaining employment in the UK; amplifying the candidate-driven market that exists in the UK.
Both of these trends combined, result in a number of findings:
- If you are an employer, you need to understand that today we work in a candidate-driven market. The labour pool has decreased at a time when demand is still high, resulting in a stronger bargaining position of candidates. Successful employers need to be quick, honest and go the extra mile to hire the candidates they want.
- If you are a candidate already in the UK, you do have more power to negotiate the right role for you; however, control your expectations, we have represented a number of candidates recently who pushed too far and ended up with nothing.
In conclusion, the uncertainty that exists in the UK caused by Brexit is already leading to a brain drain. So, recruitment agencies, candidates and employers need to be flexible and realistic for the UK economy to continue to thrive, and for careers to grow. It’s going to be an interesting journey.
To find out more, speak to our Change and Transformation Team