How Brexit May Impact Hiring Tech Talent in the UK Brexit would be seriously impacting tech firms in the upcoming months

By Bill Ingram

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There is tremendous speculation about how the UK's vote to leave the European Union will impact the economy and business's ability to attract and retain talent. From dire predictions of doom to optimistic visions of improvement, the unknown creates an environment of fear. Will we lose all our non-UK workers? What will happen if our process for securing talent is too slow to compete with faster, easier-access countries? What if we can't get the talent we need? What if talent shuns us because we're difficult? Fear is a natural reaction to unexpected change. Rather than dwell in fear, let us focus on what we can impact and control.

Attract Talent with your courage

The world is a global village. Talent moves via natural flows, demand and supply, and follows innovation. Potential restrictions will be like a rock in the river, present and formidable, but the water finds ways to still flow. Now is the time to be brave and use uncertainty and risk to your advantage. Where great change happens, especially where independence gives people back the power to determine the course of their future, great possibilities and potential open up. Talent thrives on being part of uncertainty and risk. Play this to your advantage. Be open about the unknowns, don't make any promise you can't keep, but definitely use uncertainty and the opportunity to be part of historic change to your benefit. Keep in mind that people typically change jobs every 18-36 months, so focus on what you have to offer them now.

Prepare strategically for an agile hiring process

Now is the time to start looking at how to make your hiring process more agile. Planning for contingencies and best/worst case scenarios will help you be ready to move in the direction you need to go once the regulatory impact is revealed. Start looking at how you could source talent differently. Again, don't let fear drive your strategy. Be mindful and intentional about owning this situation in every way you can. How can Brexit drive a better recruitment process for you? Where could you find global partners who can help you navigate it and bring in fresh perspective? The next two years are years for intense learning, planning, and optioneering stronger, more vibrant futures.

Value the talent you have now in the UK

Send a strong message that you value your current talent. Your people are afraid and your leadership and ability to be real and speak to their fears with humility and transparency is critical. You don't want people jumping ship now. You also don't want to up and leave yet. Brexit guarantees change, but none of us know what those changes will entail. As long as we don't allow fear to drive us, we have the opportunity to create our brightest future yet.

Shore up your employment branding

It's important to remember that it is trade that impacts the flow of talent most. Not political alliance. So, while we may end up needing to change the process of how and where we source talent, using a visa program, for instance (as the United States does), your company's ability to attract and retain talent still depends on your employment brand. Focus on shoring up your employment brand in ways that will counter people's fears. For example, now may be the time to emphasize growth opportunities at your company to counter people's potential concerns about you losing access to foreign markets. Strong, vibrant employment brands attract talent from all over the world, and the top talent will be willing to do what it takes to work in your UK locations. So, don't take your eyes off the value of continually improving your employment brand. Now, more than ever, who you are in your market is vitally important.

Bill Ingram is Executive Vice President of Seven Step RPO. He has more than 20 years' experience in the recruitment industry and currently leads the company's client acquisition & business development strategies in the EMEA market.

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