Tackling Recruitment Challenges In A Post-Brexit World

Brexit and a global pandemic have served as catalysts for shifting employee mindsets around recruitment and employment, creating challenges for recruiters who find themselves navigating new trends
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As the job market continues to rapidly evolve, employers and recruiters are facing a host of challenges in their quest to attract, hire, and retain top talent. From the rise of remote work to the increasing demand for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, recruiters are navigating uncharted waters in order to meet the ever-evolving wants and needs of their organisations and their workforce.

What Are The Three Major Recruitment Challenges Of 2023

Recruiters and businesses alike are facing an array of problems in the staffing arena, including:

1) Economic Uncertainty

The Office for Budget Responsibility believes that the UK will ultimately suffer a 4% financial decline in comparison to what it could have achieved if it had voted against Brexit. However, for a considerable number of voters, Brexit was only ever a matter of asserting national sovereignty rather than being driven by economic considerations.

The year 2020 brought with it a global pandemic, and between 2019 and 2022, the UK experienced the greatest decline in real GDP per capita among G7 countries, dropping by 1.9%. One of the reasons for this significant reduction in output was the deterioration of the UK's terms of trade, which had a substantial impact on the country as a net energy importer.

According to Silvana Tenreyro, of the UK's Monetary Policy Committee, the terms of trade decreased by 9.5% between February 2020 and September 2022. Consequently, both real GDP and household consumption have remained well below their (already low) levels during the 2013-2019 period.

The financial decline and economic uncertainty caused by both Brexit and the global coronavirus pandemic may have a significant impact on recruitment opportunities. Companies may be less willing to invest in new hires or enterprise expansion plans, leading to fewer job opportunities. Additionally, job seekers may be more hesitant to move jobs or enter the job market altogether, leading to a reduced pool of candidates from which to choose.

The declining GDP and household consumption levels can also lead to changes in the types of roles that are in demand, as well as the skills required to undertake them. As a result, recruiters will need to keep on top of these economic shifts to ensure they are effectively finding and placing the right people in the right jobs to meet their clients' needs.

2) Freedom of Movement

When the UK Government signed the Immigration Act into law, on December 31st 2020 at 11 pm, freedom of movement ended for all EU citizens without registered residence. The new points-based immigration system encourages companies to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce. What’s more, people wishing to work in the UK have to apply for permission, awarded points according to their skill set, knowledge of English, and salary offers.

With the UK's new points-based immigration system in place, the end of freedom of movement for all EU citizens without registered residence has impacted recruitment efforts. The system encourages companies to invest in and train the UK workforce, as individuals wishing to work in the country must apply for permission and are awarded points based on their skill set, knowledge of English, and salary offers.

However, this change in policy has resulted in a significant deficiency of around 460,000 employees of EU origin as of September 2022, as reported by the Centre for European Reform. Although there has been an increase of approximately 130,000 non-EU workers, it has only partially filled the gap, leading to a net decline of around 330,000 workers, which is equivalent to 1% of the total labour force. As a result, recruiters may need to find alternative ways to source and attract top talent from within the UK, as well as internationally.

3) Changing Attitudes Towards Employment

Shifting attitudes towards employment is having a significant impact on recruitment efforts in the United Kingdom. In recent years, job seekers have increasingly prioritised factors such as a healthy work-life balance, flexibility, and company culture over traditional benefits like salary and job security.

As a result, employers and recruiters are having to adapt to these shifting attitudes and offer more flexible working arrangements and perks to attract and retain top talent. In addition, there is a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, with job seekers placing greater importance on working for companies that prioritise and live these values.

Recruiters need to be aware of these changing attitudes and work closely with organisations to ensure that they are offering the types of benefits and opportunities that will appeal to today's modern and self-interested employees. Failure to do so could create a shortage of qualified candidates and difficulties in filling key roles.

So, What Is The solution?

So, what can be done to address these recruitment issues? From smart commuting services and more competitive salaries to bringing in workers on temporary visas and expanding sourcing, there are plenty of options to consider.


Offering adaptable and responsive conditions for staff in terms of when and where they work is a big incentive. It improves job satisfaction, morale and motivation, and attracts new staff. From working at home to flexi-time, there are several methods you may want to implement.

Research from the Institute of Leadership and Management shows 94% of UK companies offer some form of flexible working. Are you part of that trend?

Commuter Benefits

Getting people to and from work is a major consideration when assessing employment opportunities. Long, traffic-laden journeys increase stress levels and reduce the amount of time people spend at home with family.

By offering an alternative transport system to driving or trains, employees benefit from a more relaxing commute and lower costs. Take sustainable employee bus service Zeelo. Our innovative solution provides a fully managed fleet at affordable prices, with flexible booking and cancellation.

Smart and safe, employees can pre-book via our app or website. And there’s the option for employers to split the costs with staff, too – an added monetary incentive. We help you design dedicated routes and add new ones. That way, businesses can extend employee pools to more rural localities, widening catchment areas and attracting more candidates.

With 63% of workers considering turning down a job because of travel expenses, why not offer a stress-free commuting option, while reducing turnover and recruitment costs? “We saved £420,000 in staff recruitment over a year by offering an alternative transport solution to our site,” says Zeelo client Ocado.

Now, let’s look at a warehouse role as an example, where the site is located out of the way, accessible only by road. There are a handful of potential workers keen to apply for openings that have been announced, but none of them owns a car and they can’t afford one.

While riding a Zeelo service, staff can kick back, connect to the wifi and listen to their favourite podcast or radio show. Moreover, our buses are kind to the planet, one of our core values. Reduce parking and congestion at your office or factory and lower harmful emissions at the same time.

For example, one Zeelo removes an average of 30 cars on the road, reducing traffic in your area. And as we make the move to electric, all Zeelo partners will be able to upgrade to a fully electric service, helping the environment further.

Zeelo bus services help retain staff, too. In fact, in a recent engagement survey, we found that 75% of riders could not get to work without the Zeelo service!

Hone in on that by offering reliable and affordable transport, and helping combat social and mobility issues facing the UK.

In these competitive labour markets, put yourself ahead of the curve with an alternative commuting service like Zeelo.

Employee Perks

Do you offer added bonuses to entice staff? Benefits that improve well-being and promote a healthy lifestyle are attractive to job seekers and they also enhance productivity. Once simply discounted gym memberships were the norm, now employee extras have evolved over recent years.

With mental health a more open subject these days, stress management and mindfulness courses create a happier workplace environment, with staff feeling more valued and cared for.

Other things for businesses to consider include:

  • Paid leave: A sought-after and appealing employee perk, who wouldn’t want to take a holiday and not lose out financially? Annual leave should come as a standard for all permanent employees, but in reality, there are disparities across sectors and employers. Paid maternity and paternity are also highly valued by parents.
  • Security and stability: Strength in these two important areas makes you a desirable employer. To cement your position, offer regular performance and pay reviews and salary to your staff competitively.
Employee Retention

It’s not just about attracting new candidates, but also keeping existing employees. To achieve that, methods we’ve already mentioned help, including flexibility, affordable commuting options and competitive pay.

It’s also important to provide first-rate training and keep existing staff refreshed and updated. Yes, staff should receive initial training when they join, but it shouldn’t end there.

If you do suffer from high turnover, look inwards and think about why? Consider talking to outgoing staff to understand things from their first-hand experience. The person may be leaving for a reason that was easily addressable if you’d known. Put together a set of questions for exit interviews to make the process efficient and standardised.

Attracting New Staff

In this post-Brexit and Covid-19 landscape, there’s unease aplenty, with economic uncertainty, shifting attitudes towards employment and reduced freedom of movement impacting recruitment. What can your business do? Try retaining existing staff and attracting new ones with incentives such as safe and reliable commuting services and employee perks.

Zeelo can help with your recruitment challenges.

For more info and to get tackling, contact us today.

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