Skills for a post-Brexit economy
As Brexit uncertainty rumbles on, in the wake of debate and discord in Parliament as to what they believe the population really wants, employers have yet another concern to address. What to do about planning for a strong and enduring workforce post Brexit?
In the last two weeks, the timeframes for withdrawal have been re-drawn to give more time and consideration to the exact shape exit might take, if it indeed even happens. However, the impact of this on European talent in the UK has already been long felt.
There are, according to a recruitment survey by Linkedin, at least a third less people from continental Europe seeking roles within the UK, which has led many to believe they will have to rethink their recruitment methodologies – even before any skills-based immigration system is introduced. Equally, the process has been unsettling for those already rooted in UK industry and in some circumstances has forced them to evaluate their options. This is unsettling for employers. For advanced manufacturers, according to UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills), the issue is even more problematic given they are already more likely to report hard to fill vacancies, compared to the economy as a whole (9% vs 5%).
The Chemicals sector is one that has always understood the need to recruit skilled talent, as well as invest heavily in training on an ongoing basis to ensure the workforce is productive, future facing and meets the demands of health and safety legislation. Indeed, many large companies have mooted the idea of lifelong learning, with the expectation that as technology develops and business conditions change, so too must the skills base of employees. In a global economy, this kind of investment made by firms would translate into continued jobs and improved productivity and ensures the UK is seen as specialist. In the current environment, this seems more important than ever before, for the sector to maintain its’ position on the world stage.