Onrec logo The Online Recruitment Resource

Brexodus could be back as the number of UK workers seeking jobs in the EU continues to rise

As the Brexit countdown clock ticked past the ‘one year to go’ point, the number of UK workers planning a move to the EU returned to its post-referendum high, according to new data from Indeed, the world’s largest job site.

Company Profile

Indeed

  • With Brexit still 11 months away, the share of British-based workers planning to emigrate to the EU has returned to the highs seen in the days after the UK’s vote to leave the EU
  • Data released by the world’s largest job site Indeed reveals that the share of UK jobseekers looking for EU-based roles has risen to 15.2% above pre-referendum level
  • Ireland is the most popular destination, attracting more than a fifth of searche
  • Research paper concludes that leaving the EU will have “long-term” impact on the UK’s supply of labour

As the Brexit countdown clock ticked past the ‘one year to go’ point, the number of UK workers planning a move to the EU returned to its post-referendum high, according to new data from Indeed, the world’s largest job site.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum result on June 24, 2016, the number of UK jobseekers looking for roles in other EU countries soared as thousands of Britons explored their options following the Leave campaign’s surprise victory.

With the UK due to leave the EU in March 2019, the first quarter of 2018 saw British searches for jobs in the EU climb again - reaching a level 15.2% higher than that recorded in the pre-referendum first quarter of 2016.

This latest increase takes the interest in EU jobs back to levels seen in the chaotic days immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU, and rekindles fears of a ‘Brexodus’ of talented workers to the continent.

While the spike seen in the days following the 2016 referendum quickly subsided, the steady increases seen in 2017 and 2018 hint at a more significant, sustained trend.

Proximity appears to be be a key driver in jobseekers’ choice of destinations. Ireland was the most popular country, attracting 21.4% of searches, followed by France with 17.5%. Spain, which already has a sizeable British community, attracted 12.8% of searches, while Germany lured 11.7% and Italy 8.2%.

Meanwhile, research by Indeed’s labour market research institute Hiring Lab has today been published by the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP).

The working paper Migration and Online Job Search: a Gravity Model Approach explores the role EU membership plays in job searches, concluding that “leaving the EU may have international immigration impacts’’ similar to increasing the distance between Britain and other EU countries “by over one third.”

While the specific effects on the UK’s workforce will depend on what type of Brexit is finally settled upon, the analysis, which includes Norway and Canada as non-EU countries, suggests that leaving the EU will have a long-term impact on the UK’s supply of labour.

Tara Sinclair, economist and senior fellow at Indeed, comments: “Brexit has dominated the UK’s national conversation for two years and nowhere is this more keenly observed than in the labour market.

“A ‘Brexodus’ is once again a very real possibility. While the initial spike in Britons’ searches for EU jobs might be dismissed as a knee-jerk reaction - inspired by either curiosity or panic - 2018’s steady and sustained return to those levels suggests more Britons are thinking more seriously about a move to elsewhere in the EU.

“Job search patterns give us a strong indication of workers’ future movements - making them especially helpful in these uncertain pre-Brexit times.

“What our figures, combined with our research for the IIEP, strongly suggest is that there could be a lot of movement out of the UK in the next year, with every indication that Brexit will have long-term implications on the UK labour supply.”