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EY Claims 10,500 UK Finance Jobs Will Move Abroad Due to Brexit

13 / 03 / 2018
Eighteen months have passed since the referendum vote resulted in 52 per cent of the UK voting in favour of leaving the EU.

Despite the fact that there is barely more than a year before the country's official exit on March 29th 2019, many of the details of the separation are still murky. As such, the uncertainty surrounding the terms of the UK's departure continues to cause organisations and employees some concern.

A recent poll from accountancy firm BDO showed that Britain was the joint-second most attractive destination for European workers in 2012. Now, the country isn't even in the top six.

But it's not just incoming employees that are cautious. Big Four firm EY has estimated that approximately 10,500 finance jobs will be relocated outside the UK in time for day one of Brexit.

The company polled 222 of the largest financial services firms, and 31 per cent said they were considering or had confirmed that some operations and/or employees would be moved overseas. Dublin and Frankfurt are currently the destination frontrunners.

Contingency plans continue to improve

Omar Ali, EY's UK financial services leader, said companies have developed increasingly sophisticated contingency plans following the referendum announcement.

"Firms are working hard to find viable solutions that will allow them to continue to serve their customers and satisfy regulators with the minimum disruption," he stated.

"While the relocation of this number of roles will have a significant impact on the smaller financial services centres on the continent, it is unlikely in the short term to threaten London's role as Europe's main financial hub."

Mr Ali said the announcement that a transitional deal could be on the cards would come as a relief for many businesses.

Last month, Brexit negotiations moved on to the second stage. Media reports suggested at the time that a transitional period of up to two years could be implemented that would allow the UK unfettered access to the single market after the March 29th 2019 deadline.

Prime minister Theresa May has offered to double her original Brexit divorce payment to £39 billion in order to secure the transitional period. However, she has warned that a deal must be struck by the first quarter of this year or her offer is off the table.

Staff ready to leave the UK

Unfortunately for businesses and workers, these announcements may fail to provide much reassurance, given that the final terms of Brexit are months away from being revealed.

"UK businesses are already struggling with a skills shortage. The impact of the EU referendum and uncertainty around a new trade deal is likely to make this worse," Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO commented.

"It's absolutely imperative that the government makes it clear to the world that the UK is still a great place to do business and that we continue to attract the world's brightest and best to our country."

Our own research has shown that corporate governance professionals are already considering their options in the event that Brexit adversely affects their current role or future career.

Sixty per cent of risk managers said they would be willing to relocate, with this proportion broadly similar across in-house legal, internal audit and compliance employees.

Clearly, staff aren't afraid to let their feet do the talking. Businesses could therefore experience a significant brain drain if the government fails to negotiate a favourable deal over the coming months.

Are you considering your job opportunities in light of Brexit? Perhaps your firm is suffering a skills shortage in the current socio-economic climate? If so, please contact Barclay Simpson to discuss how we can help.

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