Can Graduates Save Britain From Brexit?
As we are all well aware now, the cloudiness of Brexit negotiations is creating an air of cautiousness in the minds of European workers. Applications have been well down across all industries reliant upon migrant staff, most notably in the healthcare, hospitality and construction sectors, but more recently other industries have been taking a hit too.
Financial firms including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have adopted Frankfurt as their new European home, with many more to follow, and they’re dragging top financial talent with them. Though it’s not just EU workers being charmed, British graduates who are looking to take the first steps on their career paths are now considering a permanent move abroad, where previously the capital was the big draw. All of which is turning London’s once beating financial district into a den of arrhythmic disarray.
In turn, businesses are increasingly cautious when it comes to hiring, and the majority of organisations are particularly concerned with being able to source highly skilled or senior staff. What does this mean for university leavers looking at the jobs market? Well, it’s hard to tell.
Either the lack of EU applicants will mean a greater availability of job roles, or the fact that businesses are relocating will mean less opportunities altogether. Most likely we are going to see a combination of the two, and a slimming down of both the talent pool and jobs market will leave them in the same, albeit less exciting, position. However, there is an important, third factor to consider: the widening science and technology skills gap, which could spell good fortune for those graduating in the STEM fields.
Then, how can graduates maximise their opportunities in a jobs market and country trudging the mires of political upheaval and uncertainty? Here’s my advice to you:
Firstly, take a considered look at the current jobs market in order to uncover areas in which there are skills gaps that needs plugging. Areas that were previously popular with EU nationals are now scrambling around to find replacements, presenting a good opportunity for a graduate to step in. These may not be job roles graduates would have previously been considered, but skills are transferable and businesses like recruits who are adaptable and up for a challenge.
Secondly, Britain’s ageing workforce also presents a good opportunity. Near-future, large groups of British workers will be retiring, leaving a startling gap at the senior end of the market. Savvy graduates should be considering the sorts of job opportunities this will open up, and ensure that they’re there to fill the gap by planning training, and pursuing the experience necessary.
The Responsibility of Businesses
Finally, businesses should be looking to fill the post-Brexit gaps in their workforce with the talent that is coming up before them. Collaborating with schools, universities and careers advisors, British business needs to take a more hands-on approach to getting graduates from education and into the jobs market.
By offering internships, work experience and mentoring as part of a broader approach to talent acquisition, companies can help shape the way the UK’s workforce and the wider economy will look in the future. Importantly, there also needs to be further investment in continuous learning in order to ensure that talent is not only being cultivated and retained, but made agile to future opportunities.
And I think that’s the key take away. In a climate of warbling grey uncertainty, those agile to opportunity and change will win out.