On Tuesday the 13th of november , a draft withdrawal agreement text was settled upon by UK and EU negotiating teams.
But just days later, numerous ministers resigned, the value of the pound dropped once again and calls for a new referendum were louder than ever.
With time running out until Britain is supposed to leave the EU, and the majority of experts still unconvinced that May will ever secure a deal (or even if a deal is possible), uncertainty about how it will happen is just as prevalent as ever.
The reality that Britain may be facing a “no-deal” brexit is a distinct possibility again, and employers and workers alike are having to consider their next steps with little clarity on what’s to come.
Downing street recently confirmed a statement from home secretary Sajid Javid, in which he states that employers would have a transition period in the event of a “no-deal” brexit.
However many employers are still not reassured, and an increase in unemployment in the UK reflects not only this uncertainty, but highlights the growing problem of a skills gap, particularly in IT skills.
The main risk for employers at present comes from having to make mission critical decisions with little guarantee over the outcomes of the Brexit deal.
The first thing many companies will have done is to look at their roadmap and try to identify any potential complications. Projects may be postponed, brought forward or come off the roadmap altogether, and this will have a direct impact on resources.
The skills gap is certainly not a new issue for british employers, but with less workers coming in from europe to help balance it, many fear that the problem will increase.
“That immigration restrictions may take place at a time when the UK labour market is already tight and facing challenges with its ageing population raises added concern.” (https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/brexit-workforce-planning-guide_tcm18-38797.pdf)
Another expected impact of Brexit is that the “IT systems of so many companies will have to change to cope with it. They will have to cope with changes in tariffs for virtually all goods and services.” (http://www.itcontractor.com/will-brexit-affect-contractors/)
Combined with a skills shortage this can throw up a large potential risk to businesses, as it may be difficult to make these changes efficiently.
One way to prepare for an uncertain future is to create a more agile environment, where you will be able to respond to changes quickly and
minimise the impact of problems.
Particularly with the growing concerns around talent acquisition and new immigration laws, one significant way that you may do this is by creating a flexible workforce, made up of freelancers, remote workers and temporary staff.
“One of the main advantages of using contractors is the ability to be agile – to rapidly upskill your workforce or scale it up or down according to demand, which could be affected by a vote for Brexit.” (https://www.nicollcurtin.com/brexit-contractors/)
There are many benefits of adopting a flexible workforce.
There are several ways that flexible work forces can cut your costs. You may find that you no longer need to house all your employees in an office, saving you space on renting or buying office space and equipment.
You may decide that you only need certain employees for limited periods of time, and with contractors you can tailor the length of their employment to suit your needs.
Many of the best technical professionals have moved into contract work, as it offers them freedom and control over their careers.
By using contractors, you will also find you can employ highly skilled specialists for every aspect of your project, rather than having a single in-house generalist.
By maintaining a fluid/ flexible workforce you are much less likely to see innovation and productivity dipping, as people will bring new ideas and enthusiasm and help to keep your teams fresh.
Despite the potential disturbance due in a post brexit Britain, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you are protected, even in an uncertain future.
If you’re looking for support building your agile workforce, our network of highly skilled technical contractors are here to help. Talk to ClearHub today to see if we can help you fill your next vacancy.