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Analyzing how Brexit has affected recruitment in Northern Ireland

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It doesn’t seem so long ago remembering when the results of the Brexit referendum came through. That June morning in 2016 began with the resignation of the former prime minister, David Cameron. Followed shortly with the steep drop in the value of the pound, hitting a 31-year low and falling 10% in value when compared to the US Dollar. Of course, the backdrop rhetoric of ‘taking back control of our borders’ remained prevalent. In many ways indicators for what was to come.

Whilst the Northern Ireland Protocol has dominated the headlines regarding the transportation of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Brexit has affected the Northern Irish economy through a wide range of issues, including recruitment.

Across the Northern Ireland job market remains a shortage of talent to fill high level positions across many industries including financial services, healthcare, and construction. Previously, Northern Ireland could benefit from attracting Talent across the UK, Ireland, Europe and afar.As Northern Ireland continues down the Brexit path, increased travel and work restrictions for international talent remains a barrier for economic development. Companies have had to adapt and find more creative solutions to mitigating talent shortages.

According to the CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report, the share of organisations reporting hard-to-fill vacancies increased from 56% in the Spring 2017 report to more than three in five (61%) organisations in the Spring 2019 report. In response many organisations are raising salaries, especially for key staff and new starters. According to the LMO Autumn 2019 report, 59% of private sector employers reported raising salaries to help offset their recruitment difficulties.

As Visa restrictions have impeded on the ability for Northern Irish companies to grow their team, a focus has been put on the importance of employee retention.

Furthermore, there has been an increasing need to bring older people back to work who may have retired during the pandemic. On a part time, hybrid or remote basis older workers bring a tremendous amount of value to the team from extensive experience and usually require more flexible working conditions.

Overall, the effects of Brexit have contributed to the talent shortage in Northern Ireland and across the UK. It has forced companies to rethink their hiring and retention processes in a bid to adapt to the environment. It has provided a higher degree of uncertainty and risk to the future of business operations.

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