Brexit begins: What does recruitment think?

Brexit begins: What does recruitment think?


The day is finally here, and the UK, and Europe, will never be the same again.

Recruiter’s nation and continent-wide have been scrambling to prepare for the changes, but still no one really knows what Brexit means.

Below we have collated what the industry companies have been saying on the biggest decision of a generation.

Kevin Green, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s CEO

The candidate shortage is an ongoing dilemma. This is not a new problem, but the fall-out from Brexit has created fresh challenges. We’re already hearing that EU workers are leaving the UK or turning down opportunities to work here. In sectors, such as healthcare, construction and hospitality, where the reliance upon EU nationals is especially high, employers are worried.”

Robert Walters, CEO of Robert Walters

“[Speaking on the announcement of ‘Brexit-proof’ profits] Looking ahead, we remain mindful of the unpredictable geopolitical environment, however, the group’s global footprint, coupled with the range of recruitment services we provide, positions us well to maximize opportunities for growth as they arise.”

Gary Elden, SThree’s CEO

“[Speaking on the news of his firm’s fourth straight quarter of decline] Looking ahead, political and macro-economic uncertainty remains at heightened levels in a number of our key regions. Against this background, we are managing the business prudently and continue to invest in our highest performing teams. Our focus on contract, the continued strength of our performance in continental Europe, our greater momentum in the USA and firm control of our cost base leave us well positioned for the future.”

Hays’ Chief Executive, Alistair Cox, and Group Finance Director, Paul Venables

Cox, speaking on the announcement of rise in net fees following post-Brexit stumble: “In the UK, after a marked step-down immediately after the EU referendum, markets quickly stabilized and we saw early signs of improvement towards the end of the half in the private sector recruitment market.”

Venables, speaking to City AM this January: “The longer the uncertainty lasts, it means if a financial institution had to create another 100 jobs tomorrow do we think they will be created in the UK or do we think they will be created in Germany or France?

“If I was a CEO [of] those businesses, I am more likely to invest in overseas than I am in the UK.

“I think in the UK financial service market there will be very tight cost control, they [companies] will keep flexibility on labour, and they will keep their options open.

“Recruiters take the pain up front, so we’ve taken our pain.”

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Nigel Wright

“We saw the pound crash, personally I think it’s a little irrational but the result is that it does make the region more competitive.

“As the North East is a big exporting region, both to Europe and the rest of the world, I think those strong conditions will continue.”