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Talent mobility in the wake of Brexit

The next few years are going to present businesses with a huge challenge in terms of retaining and finding the best global talent for their organisation, as well as encouraging British staff to work abroad. This is all because of the uncertainty being created by Brexit.

There are regular reports in the news of a ‘Brexit brain drain’, with one recent KPMG survey(1) claiming that as many as one million EU nationals working in the UK are considering leaving the country.

That same survey of 2,000 EU citizens working in the UK also noted that 50 per cent of those planning to leave Britain post-Brexit had PhDs and 39 per cent had postgraduate degrees. Upsettingly, half of those surveyed claimed that they felt less welcomed and valued in the UK since the referendum in 2016.

In another survey of 250 EU workers employed at FTSE 250 companies(2) educated at degree level or higher, there were further signs of a Brexit brain drain, with warnings that companies could face a “significant skills shortage” post-Brexit.

Talent retention and global expansion Surveys may not always be indicative of the reality of the situation, but they can offer a useful snapshot of popular and public opinion over issues like Brexit. However, entrepreneurs and business leaders mustn’t be too swayed by the scaremongering which is happening post-referendum, despite the current uncertainty surrounding the employment of EU nationals and British nationals abroad.

Clearly, retaining talent and ensuring the best talent mobility throughout global organisations headquartered in the UK are going to be key issues for enterprises over the coming years.

Scare-mongering and ‘Brexit brain-drain’ aside though, there is a very real and justified unease amongst the UK business community, with UK-based businesses planning for global expansion in the future, no doubt sharing the following concerns: • What happens to my employees abroad? • How do I prepare for the unknown and make sure I am compliant with any employment regulations? • Am I now going to incur the expense of setting up a legal entity on the continent, or in Ireland, in order to continue my operations there?

How then can organisations deal with talent mobility in a post-Brexit era?

Firstly, an agile and comprehensive Employer of Record (EOR) service is one of the best and most straightforward solutions, allowing companies to seamlessly expand, on board, manage and pay employees worldwide, while continuing to be compliant with local and EU employment laws.

The talent mobility challenge Learning to deal with and manage ‘talent mobility’ is vital for most modern British companies yet, it’s a challenge on an incredibly large scale, with around 3.6 million EU nationals now living in the UK, and 4.5 million Brits living in Europe.

With the chance that many of those 8.1 million citizens across Britain and mainland Europe may decide to return home or have VISA issues, post-Brexit, even the best laid plans for global expansion have been thrown into disarray regarding the free movement of Brits and EU nationals across Europe.

Preparing for any eventuality by employing an EOR service will help organisations manage the risk and uncertainty associated with these types of concerns.

What is EOR? So what exactly is an EOR service? And why might your business want to use one to deal with Brexit-related staffing worries and talent mobility issues?

An EOR service essentially assumes all the key business of employment responsibilities such as HR, payroll and benefits. With the current uncertainty mentioned above in mind, it can be set up specifically to enable companies to mitigate the effects of Brexit in a number of ways.

A straightforward solution, it can help provide continuing support to businesses through this forthcoming period of change and for those looking to expand into other countries, it can help attract and hire key new talent while managing existing staff.

Most importantly though, EOR can provide a company with flexibility around where staff are located to make sure it retains the best talent possible. It provides services to deal with the sponsorship of employee residency VISAs and work permits, for example, taking away the onus and responsibility for the individual or his or her employer to deal with such time-consuming, and often quite stressful, bureaucracy directly. Likewise, this works in the reverse situation of helping companies retain their best workers in the UK who also happen to be EU nationals. The Employer of Record is the legal entity that employs them, ensuring that businesses can continue to be compliant with local and EU employment laws.

All of this means one thing, business leaders and British entrepreneurs need not lose any more sleep over the threat of a Brexit brain-drain or of the limitations of employing British nationals abroad post-Brexit.

Rick Hammell, CEO, Elements Global Services

(1) https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/fears-of-brexit-braindrain-grow-as-one-million-eu-nationals-consider-leaving-the-uk-a3621361.html

(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-half-of-skilled-eu-workers-in-uk-to-leave-healthcare-brain-drain-a7790341.html

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