Brexit: The Recruitment Aftermath

Ok, that sounds fairly post-apocalyptic.  Especially as this current uncertainty creates real opportunity for hiring managers.

Like many Londoners, I woke up with the same feeling of sadness on Friday 24th June, when I found out that as a nation we had voted to leave the EU.  I would rather have had the extra half hour in bed to be quite frank, however my girlfriend (an Irish immigrant) insisted on waking me at 5.30am to inform me of the outcome.  Thanks...

I should start by saying that I don't claim to be in a position to predict exactly how Brexit will affect charities over the coming months and years.  That's not the point of this post.

However, recruitment can often be a good representation of the market during economic uncertainty.  In some areas, we have already seen how the vote to leave the EU has impacted the industry.  Since the vote, I have had three cases of candidates on EU passports informing me that they do not wish to be put forward for roles, based on a lack of clarity over their longer term rights to live and work in the UK.  Whilst to some that may feel like a rash judgement, it perhaps does sum up the views of many immigrants currently in the UK.

It was a slightly weird feeling to come into work on Monday morning though, after a downbeat Friday, to find out that it was business as usual.  My clients were still hiring and my candidates were still looking for jobs.  In fact, over the past couple of weeks, advert responses have spiked and more importantly, those people within our networks that were previously passively looking, are now getting in touch to say that they are more actively looking.

So this creates a real opportunity.  2015 was a great year for our team and permanent recruitment grew by over 30% YoY.  We did this by adapting to a more competitive market and maintaining strong relationships with our candidates, who were often receiving two or three offers at any one time.  It was a challenge though and meant we had to work even closer with our clients to ensure the best outcome.

In this climate, where some organisations will be sitting on roles, there is less competition for the best talent.  If we look back at 2009-2011, we saw an increase in people moving into the charity sector from various private sector industries that were hit hard during the recession.

A large amount of my work is making sure that we are continually approaching people from all backgrounds.  Predicted downturn in some industries means that people who have previously had a desire to work in the NfP sector, but have been comfortable in their roles over the last couple of years, will likely now turn to the sector as their next move.  We've already seen this over the past week, particularly from property, construction and aviation. 

Charities will obviously need to wait and see how this vote affects them and they won't know until we have a new Prime Minister and clear exit strategy from the EU.  Clearly if house prices suffer in the short term, then legacies will go down, as well as the potential threat to EU funding.  Other income streams may also see a slight drop as people tighten the purse strings a bit.

Pre-vote though, a number of my clients already clocked onto the fact that striking whilst the iron is hot during a more cautious recruitment market can be a great move, to ensure they get the best people in their organisations, whilst their competitors sit on roles.

Mark is an Executive Consultant within Badenoch & Clark's 3rd Sector & Housing team, with five years' experience recruiting at a mid-senior level within the sector.

If you would like to contact him for more information or advice, please call 020 7634 0389 or email


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