Recruitment and the Referendum – What’s Next?

The only certainty is uncertainty in the short term, however, from a recruitment perspective for those organisations looking at hiring strategy or indeed those candidates looking to make their next career move at Marks Sattin we asked the question on everyone’s lips – what’s next? Marks Sattin proactively conducted a survey of 195 finance professionals on the morning of the referendum result to gauge opinion and gut reaction across our client base which spans financial services, commerce and industry and professional services – the results are perhaps unexpected and certainly make for interesting reading.

There’s an old French proverb “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which means “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.  Given the media coverage, one would be forgiven for thinking that the business world is full of doom and gloom and preparing for major change however our survey found that an overwhelming majority of finance professionals (74%) believed the referendum result would result in no change in headcount, 19% thought there would be headcount reductions in Half 2 and just 7% thought there would be an increase. 

In terms of outlook from a personal perspective, things are looking positive for the finance profession with 88% of those surveyed believing that salary levels would remain the same and 67% expecting that there would be no change in retention levels at least in the next six months.

The general sentiment was that it was too early to predict what exactly would happen as there is too much uncertainty. When asked if particular skills would rise to top in terms of demand following the decision, there was no clear winner with a quarter of respondents either stating there would be no change or it was too early to be sure. 

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism for governing a country’s exit from the EU, is an unknown entity and until the UK political landscape is settled and new prime minster takes over the realm and eventually invokes the treaty the future remains uncertain. It is clear that our clients and candidates are naturally cautious but remain optimistic about the outlook. The sentiment from our conversations on the day of the decision and in the following days has borne this out. Many businesses are keeping a watching brief and are prepared for a minimum 18 month to 2 year transition with an eye on the potential impact on the rest of the EU. The general consensus was to carry on business as usual at least for the immediate future.


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