23 January 2019

How will your future workforce look?

Across the UK, employers are trying to plan ahead for their workforce; the disruption of Brexit cuts across all businesses of all sizes in all sectors within the UK, and is an issue that will remain at the forefront of our minds long after a deal is in motion.

But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

Fears over labour shortages focus only on the fact that fewer EU workers will have access to jobs in the UK, but that doesn’t acknowledge that the UK would be seen as more open to workers from non-EU countries. For many businesses, this is a very attractive proposition.

A transition period would give businesses time to adjust to the loss of access to the EU pool of workers and decide on a way forward that works for them. Businesses could also consider how to make themselves more attractive to the UK workforce.

Most firms want to make sure that their most business-critical roles are covered – if they employ EU citizens in those roles now, there is plenty they can do to keep those people in post. This includes assisting them to seek permanent residency, and on a simpler level, ensuring they feel welcome and valued.

Check who is eligible for settled status (EU citizens who have lived here continuously for five years before the transition period ends), pre-settled status (EU citizens who have lived here continuously for less than five years by 31 December 2020) or a possible seasonal workers visa, which would help agri-businesses in particular.

Planning ahead and taking advantage of any increased flexibility will be crucial for all firms in the changing times to come.

Michael Stokes of our employment team said: “While the uncertainty over the outcome is unsettling, there is much that businesses can do to stabilise their workforces in the short term as well as thinking about how they will adapt to the changing employment landscape.”

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Michael Stokes, Partner
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