DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — Britain is steering into a “hard Brexit” — where the UK will leave the European Union without access to the Single Market in exchange for full control over immigration.
It’s likely to have huge ramifications on the jobs market.
This is because this would end the freedom of movement — one of the core components to being an EU member — and therefore make it more onerous for Europeans to be employed in the UK.
Speaking to Business Insider in Davos, Switzerland, Alain Dehaze, CEO of the largest staffing firm in the world Adecco, told us as part of a larger interview how he is seeing Brexit uncertainty impact the UK, especially London, and where clients are cutting back on recruitment.
(This is one part of a larger interview. The second part will be published on Thursday).
Lianna Brinded: Around Europe, freedom of movement has helped bridge the skills gap in different countries — especially Britain in the services sector. How are you viewing the prospect of Brexit right now?
Alain Dehaze: Whatever track the UK government decides to take, I believe it will remain a powerful employer. Its educational system and employment and protection policies rank amongst the best in Europe.
As does its tradition of business-government and labour-employer cooperation. However, international mobility develops talent and provides people with the skills the global labour market needs, such as problem- and conflict-solving, communication and collaboration. To stay attractive and competitive, the UK should take measures to ensure that skilled talent keeps flowing in and out the country.
LB: Are you making contingency plans for a “hard Brexit” — which is the most probable outcome at the moment?
AD: We are constantly monitoring the situation of the market, in order to take the necessary measures and adjust our cost base, in case it would be needed. At the moment, there’s very limited visibility and a great deal of uncertainty. We will continue to help our partners and clients navigate the uncertainty and support them with the flexible solutions they need.
LB: How are your clients viewing it? Some say they are ignoring any potential risks until towards the end of official negotiations.
AD: At the moment, the market situation looks relatively healthy. However, we started seeing some effects of uncertainty, with a slightly lowering rate of high-skilled permanent hires, especially in the London area.