FTSE 250 companies could lose more than half of their skilled EU workers before the Brexit negotiations are finished, according to a new report on the effect of the UK’s EU exit.
In a survey by Baker McKenzie, 56 per cent of skilled workers at firms with revenues of more than £50 million said they were “highly likely” or “quite likely” to leave the country before the talks are over.
The hardest-hit sector was healthcare, where 84 per cent of employees think they will leave. It was followed by technology, media and telecoms at 64 per cent and financial services at 43 per cent.
42 per cent of those surveyed said they had taken action to change their immigration status since the EU referendum, while another 40 per cent say they intend to do so.
70 per cent of skilled EU workers say they feel more vulnerable to discrimination since the decision to leave the EU, while 57 per cent see discriminatory hiring practices as a threat.
However, 55 per cent of employees had not been offered any Brexit-related support by their employers. Of the 45 per cent who have received support, 94 per cent found it helpful, with many indicating that their organisations had provided useful information or assurances about their job security.
“The election result and the uncertainty around the immigration status of EU nationals underlines the need for all employers – especially those reliant on EU workers – to address their employees’ concerns around Brexit as a priority,” said Baker McKenzie employment partner Stephen Ratcliffe.
“Companies should also be taking steps now to develop talent and support and incentivise talented employees to stay within the business or they could face a significant skills shortage in the near future. This could be further compounded should there be delays to negotiations with the EU…
“Employers who are reliant on EU workers should be taking active steps to engage with their employees on the subject of Brexit, and to offer them support and assistance to address areas of uncertainty for them and their families. Failure to do so could result in a significant skills drain for businesses in the near term, regardless of the Brexit deal reached.”
For more from the report, see the Baker McKenzie website.