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Brexit: a hurdle or an opportunity for the recruitment sector?

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Alex Bigland Brexit, Blog, recruitment...

We are currently experiencing an extraordinary convulsion in British socio-economic history with both the financial markets and our political parties in disarray as a result of the Brexit vote. And that's before we've even started any form of negotiation.  It's going to take a good while for the country to really start to unravel the implications of the referendum decision and find a normality. But while we await to see what emerges, there are plenty of positives for the recruitment industry to hold on to.

The recent appointment of Theresa May may be the first signs of a stable government being formed and provided that it doesn't trigger a general election, a prime minister focussed on 'practical politics' may provide the unity that the financial markets have been seeking and help the country return to business as usual. This should help ease the fears of hiring freezes and decision paralysis.

Keep calm and carry on. While the politicians get their parties in order and work out the semantics of post Brexit Britain, there will still be a need for recruiters. People will continue to move jobs, projects will need staffing; businesses will need to hire. Any final decisions on our relationship with Europe are at least two years away and in the meantime there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

Recruitment is resilient. As an industry, we've been through uncertain times before and come out stronger. The recruiters that survived the financial crisis of 2008 to 2011 learnt the importance of spotting opportunities and adapting quickly and effectively. These were the companies that came out leaner, more agile and well placed to take advantages of the economic upturn. They reaped the benefit of balanced business models; equally mixing contract and perm offerings and servicing a spread of industries. Lessons were learnt and should be drawn on again.

And when the settlement with Europe is agreed, there will still be plenty of opportunity. We will continue to use our expertise to find the best available candidates in a broad talent pool. The access to that talent pool might be slightly different, and visa requirements might change but Britain has worked hard to build centres of excellence particularly in Finance and Tech Innovation, attracting the best talent from all around the world and not just from the European talent pool. As a country we must find a way to continue this . As an industry we have a voice that we should use to ensure we can continue to supply the best global talent to our country.

It's hard not to quote Winston Churchill in times of political upheaval. He once said "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty". Let's push aside the worries and focus on the opportunity.

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