Graduates changing career plans because of Brexit uncertainty
Almost a quarter of graduates are changing their career plans due to Brexit according to research from Korn Ferry Hay Group.
Graduates, Brexit and Beyond, seen exclusively by HR magazine, surveyed 500 graduates, and found that in the UK 24% have altered their plans as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. In Europe, 44% of graduates reported that they would be reconsidering their options following the vote.
Lucy Beaumont, a principal at Korn Ferry Hay Group and author of the report, said employers should sympathise with graduates. Beaumont is concerned the UK could be facing a talent drought in the future. 2016 saw a surge in EU nationals applying to study in the UK, with 26,800 currently at university in Britain. This is expected to fall post-Brexit. At the same time the number of UK students rose by just 3%. Additionally, 31% of UK graduates would like to leave to work in another country. “This suggests we could see a phenomenal talent drain, leading to skills shortages in the graduate market,” Beaumont warned.
Graduates were found to be highly concerned about what Brexit would mean to them personally. When asked which word summed up their feelings about Brexit the most popular option was ‘uncertain’, selected by 29%. The next most popular answer was ‘concerned’, chosen by 19%, then ‘optimistic’, picked by 12%. One in 20 (6%) said they were afraid of being left jobless.
Terry Jones, VP of talent and development at Chubb, was unsurprised that many young people feel downbeat about Brexit. “When you look at the demographics of who voted it is clear that the majority of young people wanted the UK to stay in the EU,” he told HR magazine. “It’s no surprise that they are now considering how to have that European experience.”
This attitude is reflected in the factors graduates are prioritising when looking for a new job. More than a third (38%) said one of their key priorities was job security, 30% thought finding a role in the right location was of high importance, and 36% were focused on simply finding an available position. Jones added: “Firms need to be able to adapt and evolve in a way that attracts graduates to their roles.”
Crowley advised refreshing workforce planning strategies and a focus on retention as well as training. While only 14% of graduates prioritised a role with training opportunities, Beaumont warned employers not to be “fooled into thinking graduates don’t want development.” “These factors remain important for attracting and retaining graduates,” she said. “The difference is graduates today have bigger, more basic needs that have to be satisfied first.”
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