Brexit day is nigh. What does Friday’s milestone really mean (and not mean) and what’s next for REC members as we move to the next phase? In reality, the real work is just beginning.
Not much changes (yet)
The UK formally leaves the EU on Friday, but not much changes in practice. Not yet. EU inspired regulations like GDPR and our old friend AWR do not vanish in a puff of smoke. We do not need to check our passports, we don’t need a visa to go to Paris or Amsterdam.
So really, it’s business as usual. But there is a need to continue preparing for different scenarios and to influence the next stage of Brexit negotiations – because now is when they really start the trade negotiations. The insight of REC members will be crucial during this transition period. Last week, BEIS told us that that feedback from us and our members had pushed recruitment up the government Brexit agenda, which is great news!
The next stage of negotiations will focus on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. This will determine what economic relationship the UK will have with the EU and set a path for our economic model for generations to come.
The real milestone is the 31 December 2020 deadline for an agreement with the EU.
So what are the priority issues and how can you feed in?
1. Deal or no deal? 80% of REC members say that avoiding a no deal is in the best interest of the UK jobs market and recruitment sector. So that will be our primary call for action in the run-up to December.
2. Going global! At the same time as negotiating with the EU, the government is looking to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world. Priority countries are the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Do you work in these countries? What message do you want us to get across as they begin the talks? The opportunity to influence these vital negotiations is now.
3. Services matter. We must ensure that trade deals focus on more than goods and manufacturing and create new opportunities for services (which includes recruitment). We will be using insight from members to feed into specific issues such as regulatory barriers and data sharing.
4. Influencing immigration policy. Access to staff has remained the core concern for recruiters. See our response to the MAC report here. We’ll keep making the case on your behalf, so keep telling us your case studies on how the visa system does (or does not) work in practice.
5. Client confidence is on the up. We will continue to use our research and insight from the Good Recruitment Collective to flag latest hiring trends and evolving client needs in the run-up to December 31st as we want to maintain the positive start to 2020.
6. Sectors and regions. We have a busy programme for 2020. Come to our free sector and regional events to stay updated and share get your views. We often invite experts from government and the business community, so make your voice heard.
7. Seizing new opportunities. Our regional Planning for Growth workshops and Future of Recruitment Forums are all about helping members compete and seize new opportunities in the post-Brexit world. Get involved!
Last year we engaged directly with over 1,000 REC members through our regional Brexit workshops and webinars. Your insight will continue to drive our campaigning work with the government and build a strong collective voice for the industry in this time of change and transition. This Friday is just the start.
Tom Hadley - Director of Policy & Campaigns