Kimberley Dondo finds that employers are approaching recruitment with caution this year


More than one in three firms are putting recruitment plans on hold amid concerns that Brexit could squeeze profits and increase costs, research finds.

The study by Secondsight found almost two-thirds (62%) of HR professionals expect quitting the EU – which will begin with the triggering of Article 50 – to affect their HR strategies.

Uncertainty surrounding the process is leading HR departments to take a cautious approach, with 37% saying they would not hire anyone over the coming year.

Worryingly, 5% of employers plan to remove their benefits packages altogether in 2017, with 34% expecting Brexit to hit profits and 43% believing their costs will increase.

Ian Bird, director of business development at Secondsight, said: “There’s no doubt the leave vote sent shockwaves through many organisations, and the uncertainty brought by this has clearly had an impact on HR and their strategy, as our research suggests.”

Regardless of the uncertainty, the research found that half (53%) of respondents offer their benefits packages because they want to look after their employees.

For those looking to recruit and retain their staff, 44% advised that a benefits package can act as a great tool for this, and 42% stated that it was good for their employees’ wellbeing.

The research also found that 95% of HR professionals will see their budget rise in 2017 and a further 18% are still planning to introduce new benefits throughout the year.

Thanks to HR professionals understanding the importance of providing a well-rounded benefits package, 29% would like to provide financial education and nearly half (49%) also want to introduce mental health first aid benefits.

The wellbeing agenda is gaining momentum, with employers taking a broader view when it comes to employee wellbeing; it seems there’s a real focus not only on the more traditional physical wellbeing, but also now on financial wellbeing and mental wellbeing, which we know are often linked.” said Mr Bird.