The Tory leadership race: What will a new prime minister mean for HR?
Column written by Alex Roberts, published July 04, 2019
As employers consider the two final candidates, HR magazine sought to find out what UK employers want from a new prime minister.
Five different perspectives were considered: academia (professor of transformational leadership), low skilled sector (farming), trade union, career management and immigration.
HR magazine approached Migrate’s MD Jonathan Beech for his perspective.
‘It is unlikely that 31 October will end up being the date EU citizens will have to enter the UK, to enjoy all the benefits currently available, but the rhetoric being used about exiting sooner rather than later, indicates that employers have look at their recruitment plans and current EU workforce now’
In 2018, Migrate UK commissioned a survey of 1,000 human resource directors. The results indicated 66% were struggling to find sufficient skills since the Brexit referendum. Especially within banking (86%), finance (83%) and IT (79%) sectors.
This survey was referenced in Pilita Clark’s column, published in the Financial Times 1 July 2019, ‘A Brexit storm has already hit, and employers are paying for it’. Ms Clark’s analysis of job ads on LinkedIn indicates a noticeable drop in the UK’s share of EU job searches. She notes that some experts have said that businesses are being driven to offer ‘lavish pay and perks’ to employees.
Migrate UK’s survey did indicate that higher salaries, bigger bonuses, extra holidays and new company car schemes were among extra incentives being offered.
Ms Clark writes that Migrate UK’s survey results match a more recent polling undertaken by Coleman Parkes research firm for LinkedIn.
Both surveys has been quoted in the Irish World Newspaper (Perks and payrises as UK businesses struggle to stop skilled employees saying goodbye) and the Irish times (Britan faces a drought and it’s Brexit’s fault).
Salary thresholds for future immigration are to be considered by the Migration Advisory Committee.
The Home Secretary has asked the committee to consider how future salary thresholds should be considered and where there should be exceptions.
Personnel Today and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development asked Jonathan Beech for his comments:
Salary thresholds should be based on job role rather than an arbitrary limit (currently £30,000). There needs to be a focus on the rate of pay a settled worker receives for a particular job. The current threshold is very “London-centric”, so the suggestion that rates of pay should be set based on region is very welcome.
“Regional salary variations and a more targeted approach at job rate of pay will certainly help improve the immigration system for businesses struggling to attract and retain skills but must be managed carefully and regularly.”
Jonathan points out that the salary thresholds were just one aspect of the government’s proposed immigration rules. Other considerations include the removal of the resident labour market and a reform of the immigration skills charge. However, so far, Migrate UK has not noticed changes in the way employers are recruiting. “Due to the lack of available skills, most are willing to pay the skills charge”.
OnRec asked Migrate’s MD Jonathan Beech for his comments.
‘An estimated 2.38 million EU nationals and 1.32 million non-EU nationals are now working in Britain, up by 110,000 and 30,000 respectively from the previous quarterly report.’
‘Employers are retaining overseas talent through remuneration packages. Migrate UK research found that since the referendum, 60% of employers are paying up to a total of £100,000 in extra benefits to keep much needed European skills.’
Jo Faragher from Personnel Today noted business leader’s comments.
Speaking to Migrate’s MD Jonathan Beech, she asked what does the extra six months given to government to negotiate a Brexit deal mean for employers?
“Any staff who would need to acquire settled status should still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (or for permanent residency) as normal.
Under the current guidance, this suggests they will still be able to apply for a permanent residence document up to 31 December 2020.
However the extension should not be used as an excuse to put things off.
“Employers must avoid complacency and identify and forecast vacancies well in advance. While this could still be seen as yet another stay of execution for EU citizens, Theresa May wants to finalise a deal well before 31st October.”
“Employers should continue to keep up to speed with the legal status of EU workers, advised managing director of Migrate UK Jonathan Beech: “On this, we are still advising clients to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme & EEA Permanent Residency status as per normal. Avoiding complacency is key.”
In a move to encourage research and development in the UK, the government has announced PhD-level roles will be eliminated completely from visa caps .
HR magazine sought out Migrate’s MD for comment.
Jonathan Beech believes the announcement should be welcomed by employers.
“It gives employers the opportunity to act much more quickly. Whereas previously you might have to wait weeks it’s possible to be able to use one of your quota and issue a visa within a matter of days.”