Considering the UK’s recent decision to leave the EU, equitable hiring practices are more important (and more complicated) than ever.
There’s no question that Brexit will have wide-reaching implications for both the British and European economies. Already, the economic and political consequences of the vote are being felt. Both the euro and the pound dropped dramatically against the U.S. dollar and markets have been turbulent since – unfortunately, this turmoil hasn’t been limited to the economic climate alone.
Since Brexit, UK Has Seen an Increase in Intolerance
Although voters cited many reasons for their decision to leave the European Union, one of the most contentious was a desire to limit immigration. The Leave campaign, while not entirely predicated on the immigration debate, certainly relied heavily on issues of national cultural identity. According to the Independent, reports of hate crimes have increased by 57% since Brexit. This alarming statistic can hardly be coincidental – with immigration playing a central role in the Brexit vote, racial and cultural tensions are at an all-time high.
This makes it even more important for employers to emphasise their diversity and inclusion initiatives and ensure they are not only compliant but an employer of choice for those of us who are deeply concerned with some of the ugly post-Brexit incidents occurring. A longer term factor that needs to be considered and planned for is how limiting EU residents from the hiring pool will affect the ability to fill roles and require employers to become smarter with their hiring campaigns.
Potential Effects of a Smaller Hiring Pool
So how will Brexit affect current hiring practices? As mentioned, there will be a much smaller talent pool for employers to pull from. While many residents of the UK might see this as a positive change – after all, businesses might be inclined to focus on hiring more UK residents – the lack of diversity, both culturally and diversity of ideas and approaches, will ultimately be detrimental to driving innovation within UK organisations.
Although there are unlikely to be any immediate changes, Lexology points out that the referendum has triggered a period of major uncertainty for organisations. In an interview with the Telegraph, Taavet Hinkrus, co-founder of startup TransferWire, said the vote was bad news for the tech sector. Without the same access to talent, Hinkrus fears, companies won’t be able to achieve the same level of success. If EU talent can no longer work in the UK without special visas, businesses will have to develop new best hiring practices.
The Cost of the Wrong Hire
Not having the same pool of talent to pull from could have a more profound impact on UK companies than one might initially assume. Hiring a wrong-fit employee is not only detrimental to workplace morale; it can also cost companies a fortune. In the UK, 27% of companies report that a single wrong-fit hire costs them approximately £50,000. With a smaller pool of potential employees available, making the right decision will be even more difficult for UK employers.
While there’s no easy solution to this issue, there are a few methods that can smooth the transition for employers. Advanced video recruitment technologies, for example, provide companies with strapped resources (and a dwindling hiring pool) with a more efficient approach to HR and resourcing. By utilising these technologies, employers can interpret data in a more objective way, making D&I issues easier to identify and tackle. Another solution is to simply focus hiring efforts on remote workers, which would bypass the need to sponsor non-UK employees and has been proven to bolster workplace D&I.
With Brexit looming large and xenophobia becoming more prevalent in the public sphere, creating a diverse work environment is more important, and more difficult, than ever before. But with the right strategy, and the right technology, companies will be able to pull through the rocky aftermath of the referendum and, as Saul Klein told the Telegraph, turn lemons into lemonade.