HR failing to inform European staff on implications of Brexit

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BrexitThe majority of non-British Europeans living in the UK don’t feel informed by HR about potential work policy changes caused by Brexit and nine out of ten are worried about what will happen should the referendum lead to an exit vote. The study of 1,000 Europeans by totaljobs also found that one in three (33 percent) would feel discriminated against if they were to look for a job in the UK in the current climate. Of those Europeans already living in the country, (87 percent) are worried about the potential impact of a Brexit vote, with half (49 percent) fearing for their job security and over a third (37 percent) for their personal lives. Worryingly for employers, nearly half (40 percent) of respondents said that the British decision to hold the Brexit referendum has negatively affected their opinion of the country and is forcing some (25 percent) to reconsider their career options outside of the UK.

John Salt, Group Sales Director at totaljobs said: “It’s clear from our research that European workers in the UK are unsettled by the prospect of Brexit, and this may have an impact on productivity and employee turnover rates for UK employers. With the UK skills shortage already at a critical point, this is not a prospect many employers will relish.”

More than half of Europeans (i.e. non-British citizens of the European Union) currently living in the UK moved here for work-related reasons (58 percent), either for a specific job opportunity (26 percent) or because of the buoyant job market (32 percent). Job satisfaction is high with 65 percent of those questioned claiming to be satisfied or very satisfied with their current job. Respondents rated many aspects of their working life higher in the UK than in their home countries, including:

  • Salary (66 percent in the UK vs. 8 percent in their home country)
  • Career progression (56 percent vs. 9 percent)
  • Work/life balance (47 percent vs. 18 percent)
  • Benefits (44 percent vs. 9 percent)

Alongside job security and impact on personal life, of the 87 percent of Europeans concerned about the potential Brexit major concerns also include political changes (36 percent), administrative procedures (36 percent) and currency fluctuations (30 percent).

Concerns may have been caused by a lack of communication from HR as 61 percent of respondents said that their HR department has not been keeping them informed about the potential work policy changes if Britain leaves the EU.

The good news for employers is that despite their worries, the majority of EU expats in the UK (76 percent) hope to stay, even if Brexit were to become a reality. The determination to stay is strong; of those hoping to stay 71 percent would be willing to go through intensive administrative procedures to keep living in the UK after Brexit.

Half of respondents (50 percent) have considered applying for UK nationality and 9 percent are in the process of applying.

Only 7 percent of immigrants say they would not try to stay in the UK if it leaves the EU, while 18 percent are undecided. Of the 7 percent who would leave the UK, a large majority (67 percent) say they would be gone within two years of Brexit, with an even split between respondents planning to return to their home country (42 percent) and planning to move to another country within the EU (44 percent).

Click to download the full report.