Updated: We wrote this in July 2019 but it’s more relevant than ever.
On 31st January 2020, the UK is leaving the EU.
We wish we knew whether Brexit will be good or bad for business and our economy, and therefore good or bad for jobs and recruitment.
Early signs suggest that the job market has had a boost. APSCo says ‘Professional job vacancies have risen by 16.7% across London since this time last year – despite Brexit-related political and economic uncertainty dominating 2019.’
Unfortunately, no one has the definitive answer, but there are things we can do to prepare ourselves should the economy change significantly in a post-Brexit Britain. No doubt the real long-term effects of Brexit will be years in the making.
There’s so much uncertainty about what the effects Brexit will have on the economy that it’s worth considering a few outcomes. Let’s start with the downsides…whilst also turning some negatives into positives.
The Downsides and How To Combat Them
- More competition. Stand out from the crowd.
Fewer job vacancies is a possibility post-Brexit, therefore as a candidate you’ll need to stand head and shoulders above the competition. This always applies but it could be more important than ever. What makes your experience unique? How could things like freelance or volunteer experience make you stand out? Is your CV tailored to the roles you’re applying for?
- Lower salaries. Ask for additional perks.
Another possibility is salaries will suffer. However, companies may look to increase the perks they can offer to employees instead. Travel loans, private healthcare, discounts on big brands or a higher percentage pension. These are all additional perks in addition to your salary that you can speak to employers about. Anything that reduces living costs makes a lower salary more manageable.
- Roles moving out of the big cities.
Companies may look to cut costs by moving their offices out of the big cities. This could be especially true of companies that don’t need a base in the city or allow for flexible working. In this situation, you should speak to your employer about travel loans and the possibility of working from home. See below for how this could actually be a positive for people in smaller towns.
- Taking on more responsibilities
If hiring is reduced, existing employees may be required to take on more responsibilities. New jobs may be listed with a broader range of responsibilities. This is a double-edged sword as it could mean a lot more work but also allow people to diversify their skills. If you have a burning desire to do something outside of your role to improve your skills, this could be a brilliant opportunity. However, if your role is already spready thinly and you don’t feel you can take on more responsibilities, this is something that needs to be discussed with existing or future employers.
The Upsides and How to Take Advantage Of Them
Imagine: We’re out of the EU and business is booming. Yay! There is plenty that could happen to improve your job search and career progression. But economies can rise and fall quite dramatically these days, so not being complacent when things are good, has a knock-on effect when things aren’t so cheery.
- New businesses, new roles.
An influx of new businesses means new roles and more choice. It will give you more chance to find the perfect role and progress your career in the right direction.
- Higher salaries. Make sure your CV justifies the increase.
Furthermore, if business is booming there is no reason why salaries wouldn’t go up too. However, you still need to make sure you are justifying a higher salary with a really strong application and interview.
- More roles outside of the big city.
Smaller towns could benefit from jobs moving out of the bigger cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester. More jobs closer to home making the enviable chance of a short commute or even walking to work a reality. What can come along with this is slightly lower salaries, but low travel costs could balance out a lower salary.
- Find your own job role niche.
If there are more jobs available, employers are likely to make their job specs more specific. There is additional value in being one of a small number of people that has the right experience for a particular role. Tailoring your experience to fit a specific niche increases your chances of carving out career in a way that few other people have. You will however have to put extra effort into making sure your CV is getting in front of recruiters and hiring managers as it may be harder for them to find you.
Whatever happens with Brexit – no deal or with a deal from the EU – there are ways to can keep your job applications delivering. In either scenario there are opportunities and room for improvement that will make your job search more effective, no matter what impact Brexit has on the jobs market.