Brexit and Covid Talent Drain

1 in 3 young people are considering leaving the UK for work.

Research from Adecco has found one in three young people (16 to 35) are considering leaving the UK to work in another European country due to uncertainty around Brexit as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time the YouGov survey among some 1,000 UK workers found more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of those over 55 years old and about two-thirds (66 per cent) of those aged 45 to 54-years old said they would not consider leaving the UK to find work.

The research further found that those working in the capital are the most likely to consider moving to another European country for work (40 per cent) when compared to other regions in the UK with all citing Brexit uncertainty and the pandemic as deciding factors for them.

“After a difficult year across the board these research findings reveal the true scale of the talent challenge UK companies face,” commented Alex Fleming, region president of Northern Europe Adecco Workforce Solutions. “Even with a Brexit deal and the vaccine rollout underway, the high levels of uncertainty are leading young people in particular to look outside the UK and London for work. If businesses do not act now to turn this around, they will lose valuable talent and ultimately risk their chances of successfully bouncing back in the long-run.”

The research uncovered some key industry differences. Nearly a third of those in IT and telecoms (31 per cent), real estate (37 per cent) and media, marketing and advertising (33 per cent) said the pandemic and uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit have made them seriously consider moving to the European Union to work. In contrast, those in manufacturing (70 per cent), transportation and distribution (68 per cent) and education (69 per cent) said they will be staying in the UK for work. This suggests that, despite fears Brexit would spark a mass migration of top talent away from critical industries, the UK will unlikely see a widespread “brain drain” of talent over the coming months.

Fleming added: “To combat this, it’s more important than ever that companies continue to maintain a positive workplace culture. This means offering more flexible working and enhanced benefits such as mentorship programmes, as well as providing employees with the opportunity to upskill within a role. Companies must create compelling places for everyone to engage and learn. This will not only help to keep employees motivated and engaged but could be a deciding factor in whether they choose to remain working in the UK.”

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