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Will Brexit Affect Your Graduate Job Hunt?

On20/ 03 /19
Brexit is one of the hottest topics across the UK, and it’s something that is bound to have an impact on the landscape of the British job market. 

“Should I stay or should I go?”

Global companies whose headquarters reside in the UK seem to already be weighing up their option, bringing with it the possibility of relocating some of their operations to Europe. Other well-known technology giants such as Samsung and Panasonic have already decided to officially move their UK’s HQ to Berlin and Amsterdam, respectively. 

If you are due to graduate this year, you might be concerned about your chances as a job seeker in the British jobs market; especially if you were hoping for a lucrative role within an international corporation! 

To help you succeed, we have put together a handy guide of everything you should know about Brexit and its potential impact on your job-hunt as a graduate. 

What is Brexit? 

In case you have been intensively studying over the last two years and have had no time to catch up on the news, here is everything you need to know about the UK leaving the European Union (EU) in a nutshell:

  • On June 23rd, 2016, Britain held a referendum on whether it should stay in or leave the EU. 52% of the UK voted to leave, with the majority of ‘leave’ votes originating in England and Wales.
  • The UK is was due to leave the EU on Friday March 29th, 2019 at 11pm UK time.  There are now 2 new key dates 12th April or 22nd May, explained below.
  • If MP's approve May's deal then we will exit on 22nd May with the agreed deal.  If the deal does not get passed the UK needs to tell the EU what it wants to do by April 12th.  Which could mean leaving with no deal, or a bigger extension.
  • If the UK exit with a deal, a transition period would be put in place, effective until December 31st, 2020. This is to help UK residents and businesses adjust and prepare for the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and the EU.   Unless no deal can be reached which will mean no transition period and we will leave on the 22nd May, EU laws would immediately stop applying.

Is Brexit taking its toll on the graduate job market? 

Whether you’re a graduate or an experienced professional, because of the uncertainty about what will happen post-Brexit, some people will already feel a level of concern about their job prospects and future financial stability. 

In September 2018, Adzuna released an alarming statement claiming that the average UK advertised salaries have dropped month-on-month due to employers’ concerns of ending up with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. 

This is especially true for graduate job seekers, whose potential annual income has slipped to an average of £21,146 146 (down 13.5% since July 2017). 

The drop in earning potential by graduates is followed closely by trade and construction workers (average salary of £36,438; down 4.5% since July 2017), and logistic and warehouse workers (a 4.3% drop in salary, with an annual income of £23,960).

As well as this, there seems to generally be a lower demand for graduate workers as a result of Brexit uncertainty, prompting employers to advertise fewer graduate jobs. As at summer last year, as few as 6,957 of such roles were being advertised in the UK. 

Hunting for a graduate role, in light of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit 

One of the most obvious ‘side effects’ of the UK leaving its partnership with the EU will be that of a more saturated and competitive graduate job market. 

This is especially true in light of a recent study conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which revealed that one in five UK firms would cut recruitment in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

This decision is highly influenced by the planned post-Brexit immigration policy, including the need for some form of the low-skilled route, as well as the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU - which make critical factors in terms of determining employers decision around relocation, investment and hiring.   

According to Dr Adam Marshall, general director of the BCC, “larger firms and those active in international trade would suffer the most from a disorderly and sudden exit from the EU, but there will be impacts across the board. 

“Most concerning of all, a materially significant number of businesses are considering moving part or all of their operations to the EU in the event of ‘no deal’”, he adds. 

This is disappointing news, especially for a number of graduates who have been hoping to establish their long-term career plans within international organisations.  

How can you prepare? 

As the number of vacancies is very limited, you should start shaping your graduate job-hunting strategy right now. 

To ensure that you stand out as a graduate in the job market, you might want to rethink your career plan. This may lead you to undertake a course that will help strengthen your skill set so that you can better fulfil job requirements in a post-Brexit economy!

For example, The British Council has highlighted the fact that over 62% of Brits don’t speak any other language besides English, which is why hiring managers whose companies serve international clients tend to prefer hiring from outside Britain. And while the majority of countries use English as their secondary language, going that extra mile by learning an additional language such as German, French or Spanish will definitely add points to your resume and help you with finding that first full-time role. 

You should also remember to bolster your graduate resume a little by adding in extra facts about other related experience - for example, volunteering, fundraising, internships and any part-time work that’s worth mentioning. 

Those seemingly insignificant facts could have a dramatic impact on your job application in the wake of Brexit. Whatever happens!

If you need some extra help with polishing your graduate CV, take a look at our CV & Interview Tips section today. Alternatively, why not drop our recruiters a message and let them find your dream graduate role?

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