The post-Brexit recruitment challenge

Like many UK manufacturers, the car industry relies heavily on skilled people from Europe to fill key posts. However, uncertainty over Brexit has created a sense of 'lethargy' amongst candidates, especially from Eastern Europe who no longer see the UK as a long-term viable option for work.

David Fowler, a journalist for The Engineer, speaks to Simon Bartington, director from CBSbutler, in the latest issue of The Engineer, and discusses the future of the Automotive Industry.

It is quite apparent that the recruitment challenges in the automotive industry have become increasingly more difficult to predict, with a reported 26 percent reduction of applications from EU nationals since the referendum and a 15 percent increase in EU nationals leaving their businesses, there is a notable shift of confidence. With falls in shipment, higher production cost, higher taxes on diesel vehicles and with UK manufacturers not renewing contracts for their temporary workers, it is no wonder that some car manufacturers are hailing this as the worst crisis to hit the industry since 2009.

What will the post-Brexit recruitment challenge look like as Brexit fears hit sales?
Simon Bartington said:

"At CBSbutler we specialise in recruiting engineers for the most specialist, hi-tech end of the market, with clients such as Formula 1 teams including McLaren, and in the past Jaguar Land Rover. Its clients seek specialists in concept designs; the design of hi-tech prototypes, in composite materials; ultra-low volume production; quality assurance experts and software engineers.

Vacancies are filled by people moving within the sub-sector, for example from one F1 team to another, but some are recruited from hi-tech industries in Eastern Europe, attracted by higher salaries, as well as the prestige of working at what is seen as the cutting edge of the industry. The numbers of engineers sought for such niche specialisms are relatively small, there is by no means a shortage of individuals seeking to fill these positions."

But since the referendum, Simon goes on to discuss the real concerns that Eastern European candidates have, on whether to come to work in Britain or not. Unfortunately, the UK has become less of a desirable option for work, especially with a buoyant German car market and with such uncertainty in UK immigration laws. Europeans need long-term options and if they don't exist after Brexit it will be a lot harder to attract talent from hi-tech industries. Until we know what the final post-EU immigration system is, we will probably find that many European candidates are looking elsewhere.

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