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Brexit vote affects foreign worker confidence

Fewer offers to candidates outside the UK were made or accepted than in the beginning of 2016

British employers are less confident in recruiting from abroad since the Brexit vote, according to research from Hired.

Data from users of the site revealed that the percentage of British companies sending offers to candidates outside the country fell from 25% at the beginning of 2016 to just 18% a year later.

Foreign workers were also found to be less interested in working in the UK. Their acceptance rate for jobs in Britain decreased by nearly 20%, whereas the acceptance rate from local candidates remained consistent over the same time period.

Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired, told HR magazine that this could be a result of uncertainty rather than pessimism. “This might be the lowest point of the curve,” he said. “Nobody is sure yet what is going to happen so they are worried. But as the situation becomes clearer, and we find out what will happen with EU workers in the UK, we could see confidence rise again.”

He suggested that retention will be more important. “Companies must become more proactive,” he said. “As it becomes harder to hire new people they will need to start focusing on retaining the people they have. They will need to understand the importance of culture, wellbeing at work, happiness, and clear career paths; all the things HR knows is important. They will need to become more strategic in their thinking.”

Hired also surveyed 211 UK technology workers about their biggest work-related concerns. Brexit came top, selected by 55% of respondents. Almost three-quarters (72%) believed Brexit has already brought uncertainty to the UK’s technology sector, while nearly four in five (77%) believed there will be uncertainty a year from now. Almost a third (31%) anticipated it being harder to find a job in the next 12 months as a result.

Despite this, Patel said he is optimistic about the UK’s future. “London will always be somewhere the top talent will want to work,” he said. “This is just a moment in time, but one that we must take seriously.”