Brexit and your role - what are your burning questions?

Steve Bridger

| 0 Posts

Community Manager

17 Jan, 2020 15:07

With Brexit now looming, we’re putting together a comprehensive set of FAQs with (we hope) some useful pointers for people professionals.

With this in mind, what are the burning questions you need answered?

For example... pondering over what the new immigration system might mean for recruiting EU citizens... or wondering if you should change any policies before the end of this month?

Let us know what you are thinking and we will do our best to address your concerns and answer your questions.

In the meantime... have you visited our Brexit Hub?

  • In reply to Annabel:

    Hi Annabel, Tracy

    There are a couple of ifs to consider in addressing this question.

    If you know you are going to hire from the EU and the role is relatively permanent (rather than say seasonal), our recommendation to employers is to bring them in ahead of 31 December 2020 and help them to apply for pre-settled status.

    If the employment is going to be more on a temporary basis or otherwise not expected to qualify under the minimum threshold, post-31 December, the route will depend on the other visas available under the new immigration system. CIPD has been feeding into the work of the Migration Advisory Committee as well as the Home Office and we have been pointing out the need for employers to have continued access to skills and labour at all levels and not just at the high-end. The focus of our most recent calls are around extending the proposed temporary visa from one year to two. Obviously this hasn't resolved yet but we do encourage members to support our conversations with government on this.


  • In reply to Ray:

    Thank you for your support Ray, however you make an assumption which unfortunately many people do, and I worry will be the Government's default... We currently pay all Production Operatives £8.50 per hour regardless of age... So quite above minimum wage. Despite this we still rely on EU labour. It is not therefore a question of paying better. Of course I could say, let's massively increase this, but we are a narrow margin business, this would be passed to our customers, who wouldn't be willing to pay it, we'd go bust and then no one would be paid anything...
  • In reply to Derek Tong:

    Hi Derek. We have fairly high turnover, we can't just hope that people will stay for ever if they join us before 31st December.
  • In reply to Annabel:

    We know there are going to be more than a few organisations facing the same predicament - that's why we've been vocal in our engagement with policy makers on this point.

    But from a people practice point of view, an earlier post from Laura hits the nail on the head and underscores some of the things we've been saying to our members on workforce planning (whether Brexit-related or more generally). We can't ultimately control whether someone will leave or stay, but if employers are putting training, development, progression into their employee proposition, they will at least have done what they can to give employees incentives to stay. For the really low-skilled work, it may be that automation for example should be part of the conversation.
  • In reply to Derek Tong:

    The trouble is Derek that even with doing all that, our staff turnover is really high. I'm responsible for 3 production facilities and our lowest turnover is 50%. Of course we are trying to do more to reduce this, however it isn't easy. We also aren't in a position to put our pay rates up, as we can't pass this on the customer (retailers and food service) who of course are also facing the same challenges.
  • In reply to Laura Ann:

    Laura and Annabel

    IMHO the ground rules are changing for everyone in low margin businesses in the wake of Brexit.

    Pre-Brexit, if you increased your people costs you would become less competitive because your competitors would continue to pay less and sell at a lower price. Post Brexit, the same reduction in the availability of low- cost, low-skilled labour will apply to everyone - so the potential to continue to undercut competitors will reduce. Since demand will remain constant and supply levels drop, in all probability the only way for EVERYONE to attract in this segment of the market will be to improve their offer, and to pass any increased cost onto the customer (retail or public). The customer will not be able to change supplier for a lower price, because every one else will have had to improve their offer and increase their price. This will not happen overnight, but I believe that over the next 12 to 18 months it will become a reality, unless the government takes a different tack on use of low-cost, low-skilled EU labour.

    One final point - improving the offer dosn't have always to be via salary; if you can find something that your staff want that costs less than the equivalent salary, then you can create a competitive recruitment/retention edge. For example, around the year 2000 a Belgian subsidiary of my last company found tremendous difficulty in recruiting fresh engineering graduates, despite paying 15-20% more in salary. Why? Because our competitors were offering low level company cars (at the time, very tax effective) to this population. By offering slightly better cars, and reducing the salaries offered by 10% they were able to monopolise the engineering graduate market again - and more importantly at a lower total cost than before! The real challenge is to identify the low-cost add-ons that are perceived as high value by your target population........

    Good luck with your challenge!

  • In reply to Debora:

    Good point. Part of our company is logistics and distribution with quite a proportion of eastern Europeans employed and others are provided through agencies. Monitoring and policing the right to work will impact administratively and may lead to gaps in low skilled workers. Need to review recruitment strategy.
  • Hello everyone

    I have just had another look at the Brexit Hub. The Q&A section, links etc are really helpful and user-friendly.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    19 Feb, 2020 17:32

    In reply to Elizabeth:

  • For me one question and one concern:
    Question - what implications/restrictions will there be for British nationals who do not hold dual citizenship and who wish to work within the EU either as a relocation for the foreseeable future or as a secondment?

    Concern about the potential impact on people who are Irish citizens and therefore not required to register under the EU settlement scheme if they experience pressure/instructions to do so from recruiters/employers who may not realise they don't need to - may cause hurt to feelings etc
  • My burning question is about musicians or sports people who tour in Europe, along with their entourage of support staff from the UK. How do the support staff get a visa that covers more than one country, can they get it for a six month period, will there be a schengen restriction of 90 days in 180? I appreciate there are visitor visas for tourists but for business travel I'm getting the impression something else is required. I don't know what.

    We have British people whose normal working pattern is more than 90 in 180 working in Europe. It may make sense for us to use more EU workers going forwards.
  • In reply to Annabel:

    Given the state of the labour market, the loss of access to low cost EU labour might not have quite the same negative impact as it would have done pre-Covid. I still owe 160 applicants an email for a fixed term and very niche job!