Brexit is worsening the UK's skills shortage; how can businesses ensure they have the best people in place?
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Brexit is going to present British business with a fundamentally important human resources challenge over the coming years. Principally, how can UK companies continue to retain, train and nurture the best global talent?
These days, no matter where in the world you are working, superfast mobile connectivity can quickly and easily transport you into the same virtual room as colleagues. Also cloud-based server storage means that globally dispersed teams can all access the same files and systems from any location.
Yet in the current pre-Brexit mood, it is all too easy for entrepreneurs and businesses to worry about the impact of any potential restrictions on talent mobility in the fallout. British newspapers regularly report on the fear of a ‘Brexit brain drain’ only serves to exacerbate this feeling of uncertainty.
Perhaps most worrying for British employers, 50 per cent of the 2,000 EU citizens surveyed in that KPMG report were workers with PhDs, 39 per cent with postgraduate degrees and 52 per cent were on higher incomes. Half of these skilled, high-earners said that they felt less valued and less welcomed in the UK since the result of the June 2016 referendum.
Against this backdrop, there is sure to be fearsome competition between British employers (and those global organisations headquartered in the UK) to retain and continue to train and inspire highly-skilled workers post-Brexit.
Surveys might not always be the most reliable gauge of the reality of the situation, but it is clear that there is considerable concern amongst EU nationals working for British companies about their long-term future in the UK.
Uncertainty and fear of the future are not good for business and the current lack of clarity surrounding post-Brexit policies around employing EU nationals in the UK and retaining British workers abroad means that British companies need all the help they can get to cope with any forthcoming changes in employment law.
With this in mind, organisations need to formulate strong and confident strategies to ensure they are continuing to get the best from British nationals working abroad and from EU nationals employed in the UK.
If your business employs staff in other EU countries, EU citizens in the UK or if you have any ambitions to expand into these markets at some point in the future, it’s important you prepare for the unknown and make sure you’re fully compliant with any local employment regulations.
Plus, of course, there is also the critical element of cost (not to mention the bureaucratic time-sink involved) if your company should be required to set up a new legal entity on the continent or in Ireland in the future in order to continue business operations in those territories.
These are major, very real uncertainties that businesses face right now. No matter the size of your organisation, Brexit has thrown a curveball at all UK companies that employ or hope to employ Brits abroad or EU nationals at home.
So what strategies do these businesses need to put in place in order to cope with and navigate the changes ahead, both efficiently and confidently?
The Employer of Record Service
There are around 3.6 million EU nationals currently living and working in the UK and around 4.5 million Brits living in Europe. Which gives a very clear idea of the size of the potential problem for British businesses.
It’s a given that there will be changes in local and EU employment laws and regulations following Brexit that impact a high proportion of those 8.1 million citizens across the EU. No matter what your current plans are for international expansion, these citizens are likely to be in a state of flux due to the uncertainty of the Brexit situation.
However, there is a solution on offer to help British entrepreneurs and business owners with any talent mobility qualms or concerns about the future of free movement of employees between territories: the employer of record (EOR) service.
An employer of record service essentially assumes all the business of employment responsibilities such as HR, payroll and benefits, whilst enabling British companies to mitigate the uncertainties of Brexit.
When it comes to the thorny problems outlined above of retaining the best staff, at home or abroad, an EOR is an invaluable investment. It provides a company with considerable flexibility around where its staff are located and provides essential services to deal with the sponsorship of employee residency VISAs and work permits.
In this way, an agile and comprehensive EOR takes the onus and responsibility to deal with such stressful, time-consuming bureaucracy away from the employer or the individual staff member, allowing them to get on with running their businesses and doing their jobs in a stress-free manner.
An EOR service is basically an off-the-shelf solution that allows any company to easily expand, on board, manage and pay employees worldwide, while continuing to be compliant with any relevant local employment laws and regulations.
Vice versa, for those employing EU nationals in the UK, an EOR is a vital tool for companies to retain their best talent. The EOR is the legal entity that employs them, ensuring the business continues to be compliant with any changes in domestic and EU law.
Keep your best staff happy, wherever they may be, and your business will thrive. Don’t let the threat of a Brexit ‘brain-drain’ damage your business’ growth or deter you from nurturing great talent. All of which is why an astute use of an EOR service is the most cost-effective way of not being blind-sided by Brexit over the coming years.