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Hard Brexit unpopular with managers

Uncertainty around Brexit and the general election is having a negative impact on British businesses

Just one in five (19%) managers favour a ‘hard Brexit’ as proposed by the current government, according to new research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The survey of 801 managers found that nearly half (43%) thought a deal that secures access to the single market and secures freedom of movement of people would be the best outcome.

Almost six in 10 (58%) thought maintaining access to EU talent by guaranteeing the rights of existing residents should be a top priority after the 8 June election, while 30% cited continued investment in the apprenticeship levy.

Two in five (37%) said the decision to call a general election has had a negative impact on their organisation and caused further uncertainty. Compared with this time last year, 41% of managers said they feel more stressed, 48% have more work to do, and 32% are working longer hours. Nearly one in five (18%) said that the general election had caused more uncertainty among employees.

Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI, said that politicians must consider the opinions of businesses on Brexit. “Political leaders looking for a strong mandate from this election must consider the views of the UK’s 3.2 million managers, who are key drivers of the UK’s productivity,” she said.

“Managers have serious concerns about continued access to skilled workers, and this is motivating the desire for free movement of people post-Brexit. All parties should focus post-election on the need to build an internationally competitive economy based on a world-class skilled workforce.”

Francke warned that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit could already be affecting productivity. “The Brexit referendum has clouded the UK economy with uncertainty, and this has had a massive impact on the effectiveness of managers to deliver strong business performance,” she said. “The quality of working life and health of managers is important, and uncertainty and stress is a productivity killer. We ask our political leaders to give UK managers clarity and invest in the skills they need to deliver.”