BREXIT and Human Resources


For those who didn’t catch my presentation at the ‘HR in Turbulent Times’ conference last week, here are my slides and the key points I made under each.


Three key contextual impacts for HR – Economic, Trade, and Labour supply. Although all these impacts are exacerbated by BREXIT, they shouldn’t be new to HR practitioners. If you have been in practice during the last 10 years and responded to the economic downturn  you should be able to deal with this stuff.


At its heart, getting the right people to do that job is what HR is about. So any change to labour supply is an issue for us. It’s an issue in low skilled work as empoyers constantly say that they have been failed by the resident labour market – so who makes up the short fall? It is an issue for high skilled roles as the incubation periods are longer than the notice we will get of the new framework.


If the UK becomes less attractive a work destination from immigration and economic perspectives (possibility of visas and weak pound) we need to differentiate to continue to attract. How will your work experience in the UK be fundamentally different to one you could get elsewhere in the World? Can we demonstrate a genuine committment to skills, to innovative work practices, to human centred design, and to the cutting edge of workplace innovation?


Bring together the two challenges of labour supply and diferentiation and we are brought to job design. We can respond to reduced labour supply from the EU by increasing domestic labour supply. This could happen as a result of redesigning jobs so that they can be done by older people or people with childcare committments for example.

Another approach would be to respond to reduced low skilled labour supply by reducing demand for low skilled labour through greater automation. This achieves a double benefit of building an increased number of high skilled roles in the design and development of automation systems.


Finally, we need our voice as a profession to be heard. This means engaging now and making the point that we have much to contribute to developing a national work and skills response to the BREXIT challenges and opportunities.


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