Quarter of big consultants consider post-Brexit exit

Aaron Morby 2 years ago
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Nearly a quarter of large consultancy and engineering firms are considering moving jobs out of the UK if Brexit makes it more difficult to move staff around Europe.

New industry research reveals that Brexit is casting a shadow over the UK construction professional sector, which is set to be hit hard if access to the European single market is not maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

New research by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering has revealed that 22% of large consultancy firms will consider moving jobs out of the UK if it becomes more difficult to move staff around Europe, potentially moving thousands of posts out of the country and jeopardising the delivery of major UK infrastructure projects like HS2, Hinkley Point C and Heathrow Airport’s third runway.

The government has already been warned construction as a whole could lose more than 175,000 EU workers – or 8% of the sector’s workforce – if the country does not retain access to the European single market after Brexit.

The true magnitude of the impact on the industry is likely to be wider according to the new report, The Effect of EU Migration on the UK Consultancy and Engineering Sector Post Brexit.

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin, said: “The report paints a worrying picture and we will be using its contents in our discussions with the independent Migration Advisory Committee to help strengthen our arguments with hard data from member firms.”

“It is essential that we highlight the difficulties the sector will encounter in recruitment and retention in a post-Brexit world.”

Report findings

  • Continued unfettered access to EU skilled nationals is of high importance to consulting engineering firms
  • On average 10% of consultancy and engineering firms’ staff are from EU member states which is higher than the construction industry average of 6%
  • 67% of EU staff work in London and the south east which is higher than the industry average
  • EU nationals have been used to help manage the UK’s engineering skills gap
  • 50% of EU nationals are fee earners
  • Continued recognition of UK qualifications will be important to EU nationals’ retention

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