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Brexit would damage graduate prospects

A Brexit could also cause the 'financial centre of gravity' to shift to mainland Europe

Half (50%) the leading graduate employers in the UK will reduce their graduate intake if Britain votes to leave the EU, according to a survey of top UK graduate employers by recruitment software company PathMotion.

The three main reasons cited for downsizing graduate hiring activity following Brexit were its impact on the economy and therefore on the volume of business; general uncertainty surrounding leaving the EU; and a smaller talent pool of EU graduates applying for jobs.

When asked what they would do if a Brexit meant that they were unable to freely hire EU graduates, 53% said they would apply for work permits to keep the number of EU hires the same, and 16% would look to reduce the number of roles that would previously have gone to EU applicants. However, only 25% thought they would be able to increase the number of roles offered to UK candidates.

David Rivel, co-founder and CEO of PathMotion, said: “The concerns raised by graduates about the effects of a Brexit are now confirmed by employers; who predict a loss of graduate jobs in the UK. British graduates are not protected, despite some employers shifting [preference] from EU to British graduates. The survey also reveals that employers are worried at the prospect of losing access to a talent pool they can already tap into.”

This report coincides with research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which forecasts that as many as 100,000 financial services jobs could be lost if Britain withdraws from the EU. Brunella Flackett, senior client partner for financial services and private equity at Armstrong Craven, warned that a vote to leave will see the financial centre of gravity shift to mainland Europe – with banks and other institutions moving to boost their operations in major cities such as Paris and Berlin.

“The drain of talent will include British workers who see greater career opportunities in mainland Europe. It is also likely that financial services talent looks further afield to the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore,” she said.

“Another consideration is those British workers who are married to EU citizens and working in European hubs who may suddenly find themselves having to uproot their families and return to the UK. The relocation costs of many businesses in the sector are likely to soar in the event of Brexit.”