How might the Brexit decision affect careers?



Despite early fears, the sky hasn’t fallen in and the sun still came up. In the wake of the Brexit decision, uncertainty is rife and it will probably be that way for a number of years until a conclusion is reached by the government. Whilst we wait for those negotiations to end, we can speculate what it might mean for the economy, for politics but most importantly to most of us, how it may affect our careers. Even though it’s probably too early to know exactly what the ramifications of the vote will be on our jobs, we can make some predictions about what might change over the next few years.

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I’m an experienced professional, how could the Brexit decision affect me?

Even though we don’t know exactly what might change over the next few years, experts can say with some degree of certainty that unemployment is set to rise. Since Brexit will more than likely lead to economic uncertainty and a decline in economic activity, it’s to be expected that there will be jobs lost. Catherine Bernard, a professor in EU law predicts that 550,000 jobs could be lost by 2020. Of course, greater levels of unemployment could result in more competition in the jobs marketplace. However, as we are in a phase of uncertainty, others have suggested there could be less competition for jobs. As experienced professionals seek stability in their careers in the wake of political and economic uncertainty, they’ll be more likely to stay put than risk testing out a new job.

Another thing to consider for experienced professionals is how the Brexit decision may affect your ability to work abroad. Should free movement across the EU be limited in the future, businesses may be less willing to hire British workers and it could become difficult to acquire working visas. However, as with the rest of the Brexit story, it all depends entirely on the outcome of the ongoing political negotiations.

I’ve just graduated or am about to finish university, how might things change?

At the moment, the outlook does look a little bleak for graduates of the future. A survey conducted with leading graduate recruiters concluded that 49% of them would look to lower the level of graduate vacancies as a result of a leave decision. However, this stat is dependent on the sector you’d be looking to get your entry level job in. Sectors such as Civil Service, Education, Oil & Energy & Consulting would be less likely to be impacted and would continue to hire graduates at the same rate. Like with any other kind of economic uncertainty, political instability means that businesses will look to reduce hiring until there is greater clarity on the macro environment.

On the flip side, if you’re a British student, the Brexit decision could have a positive effect on your career prospects. Because it’s unclear whether or not freedom of movement will remain in place for EU citizens, graduate recruiters would be more likely to hire British students/graduates. In this scenario, there could be less competition for graduate roles and internships, making it somewhat easier to land those lucrative positions!

Do we know anything else for sure?

Accurately predicting any changes in the job market post-Brexit is a risky game. It’s extremely difficult to know what will come, especially considering that finalizing Brexit negotiations could take a number of years, so any real changes wouldn’t take effect for a long time anyway.

Understanding on a macro level the effects of political change is important, but the most crucial thing to remember, whatever happens, is that you and you only, are always in full control of your career and your success.