Whether you were an Exiter or Remainer, or indeed are now a Regrexiter, the decision was made on the EU Referendum on the 23rd June, so we are where we are now and there is no going back. Similarly to a divorce, we initially witnessed emotions running high, social media outbursts and knee jerk reactions. Thankfully the storm has calmed ten days later.
One of the many sectors Brexit will affect is my industry – travel and indeed recruitment, but what level of impact will it have on employment in the UK.
As we approached the referendum, there wasn’t any evidence of slowdown when it came to hiring talent.
It’s too early to tell what the short-term and long-term effects of this significant historic decision will have. I feel as though we are in no mans land, an era of uncertainty, and the immediate impact is limited. We have to wait for the government to renegotiate our position in the world – not an easy task but we can only hope they are able to negotiate access to the European markets and talent for us (Little Britain) that currently Switzerland and Norway enjoys. There will be changes in employment law and immigration but it is so important for the Government to retain global mobility of talent.
Our industry is highly diverse and multinational, so restrictions on EU immigration could well affect travel businesses. Many digital start-ups are led by foreign entrepreneurs. We should still be able to attract the best, most qualified people but this may involve using the work permit system currently used to determine whether non-EU migrants can work in Britain. The good news is that we have a multinational workforce within the travel industry, so I can only hope that these people will want and are permitted to stay; we do not want a brain drain.
The Government needs to work and consult with the travel and hospitality leaders to truly recognize the impact of any changes they propose. Ultimately they need to reduce risk to travel businesses and their employees. Together with travel business leaders, they need to act decisively and responsibly to ensure the UK’s future employment legislation continues to protect workers and enable businesses to bring the right skills they need into their business. They need to secure the best talent to drive their future success, whether that’s from within or outside of the UK.
And post referendum it has been BAU with our travel clients continuing to recruit. Thankfully, we have not heard of any recruitment freezes being imposed within our client base. Yes there will be short-term implications on the economy. But it is important the leaders within the travel industry to show strength, optimism and positivity. With so much uncertainty ahead, our leaders must display confidence, stability and transparency in their businesses and engage with their people every step of the way.
The Travel industry has faced 9/11 and other global terrorism attacks, SARS, skyrocketing oil prices, a double dip recession and the volcanic ash cloud coming from Iceland (they have a lot to answer for!). But we always show resilience. We are used to dealing with challenge and change and we just need to make the best of the hand that we have been dealt.
Gail Kenny, Managing Director
Photograph by Vaughan Leiberum Photo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/laertes_za/1978964397/) via flickr.com