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Survey Results: The impact a UK Brexit would have on Talent Management strategy

This is the first of what will be a series of hopefully interesting or instructive and maybe occasionally thought-provoking blogs that will be shared amongst a community of our HR contacts.

The bulk of these blogs will be written either by myself, Adrian Hill, Director of Quarsh’s Executive Search Practice or Lucy James, co-founder of Quarsh and an accomplished search practitioner in her own right; although other members of our team might make contributions.

We sent a short survey to a number of our HR contacts and we have analysed the results. The survey principally asked whether the individual thought that a potential Brexit would have an impact on talent management strategy, specifically how they think that that impact might be manifest and whether their firm had considered this question in their long-term planning.

No panic if we vote to leave the EU, but there is an expected impact on talent management

The respondents made it clear that as the transition from status quo to an UK existing outside the EU would take anything from 2 to 5 years, so there is no sense of panic setting in on June 24th if the decision to leave transpires; but 70% of those who responded thought that a UK Brexit would have an impact on their talent management strategy, and 30% thought that that impact would be considerable.

Relocation of roles to mainland Europe?

When asked what form that impact might take, 50% thought that the most likely outcome would be the movement of some roles from the UK to Mainland Europe.  Twice as many thought that it would result in hiring more EU nationals “while we still can” as opposed to preferring to hire UK national as a matter of policy. Either trend wouldn’t be encouraging for UK nationals, particularly if they require a work-permit to be employed in Frankfurt, Pars or Madrid.

A UK Brexit would have an impact on talent, but it's not being discussed

Although 70% of our respondents thought that a UK Brexit would have an impact, only 30% said that this question has been raised as a topic for internal discussion. This may reflect a perception that the Brexit is unlikely or that the transition period is plenty of time for adjustment, but we have become used to regarding the EU as a single employment pot.

I have recently conducted assignments in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, with no thought that UK candidates might not be considered – although our general laxity in speaking other European languages can be detrimental to our prospects in such contests. Or maybe it illustrates that we are an island nation and we should continue to see ourselves as such?