It’s been hard to ignore the b-word that’s been on everyone’s lips and in the media since 29th March 2017. Brexit has no doubt been the talk of the country and the world for that matter. Ever since the referendum results were announced there’s been numerous companies offering their perspective on what they think it will mean for not just the UK but also their own businesses. With Brexit we’re plunging into the unknown and the UK want answers.
With the recruitment sector and Brexit there’s been worries over talent shortages and questions over movability, especially as the recent whitepaper released by the Government stated that there would be free movement. The report aims to offer a clear vision of what they want to achieve upon exiting the EU – but many are still feeling very much in the dark. The one saving grace is that the UK plans to negotiate an arrangement that would allow UK nationals to visit the EU for short-term businesses purposes and vice versa for EU citizens. This would offset any pressure on companies that have link to the EU, for example other offices or business partners.
However, some businesses have expressed their doubt in the Government’s ability to proceed successfully with Brexit plans. The second quarter of 2018 has also seen some recruitment difficulties across various sectors including manufacturing, retail and hospitality – right down to fruit farmers, who are facing a lack of seasonal labourers leading to produce spoiling with too few hands. It’s vital that UK businesses are brought out of the dark to find out what they can expect following the introduction of Brexit.
Recruitment in the professional driving industry, particularly with HGV drivers, is experiencing a similar issue to the fruit farmers. Workers from the EU are staying in their home countries instead of coming over to the UK for work due to the uncertainty that Brexit poses as we near the leaving date with very little decisions made for the industry. The Government is still working out the knots for their Brexit plans but the professional driving industry is already experiencing driver shortages, meaning clarity is urgently needed not only for UK businesses, but EU workers too.
James Hookham, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Freight Transport
Association recently told industry press that although the recent whitepaper had offered positive proposals for certain areas of the logistics industry, issues such as the security of job status for skilled EU workers are still unspoken for. The free movement of workers between the UK and EU needs to have further explanation, as well as providing reassurance to businesses who depend on those workers for the continuity of their deliveries. Over 45,000 HGV drivers from Europe currently work in the UK; without the appropriate working permits, job losses could have a serious effect on the industry.
It’s safe to say that there’s been a lot of upset over the thought of the UK leaving the EU, with some even claiming it’ll have an apocalyptic effect! At this stage in the game, we’re hoping for clarity for the recruitment sector as a whole, as well as what Brexit will mean for foreign drivers and working permits. As an area that was lightly touched on in the Brexit whitepaper compared to other aspects of logistics, we hope to see a lot more discussion on it in the coming months.