Will they stay or will they go? Post-Brexit predictions on travel recruitment of EU citizens

Whether or not the term “Article 50” strikes fear into your heart or makes it sing, the fact of the matter is that it has already been implemented, and the likely repercussion of post-Brexit on travel recruitment is a restriction or halt in the free movement of EU workers.

While we wait for the real impact of Article 50/EU negotiations on immigration to be seen, my prediction is that the powers that be will allow EU citizens to stay and not completely put a brake on the employment of EU workers. Rather, the UK may follow the same route as Australia and introduce quotas.

If the flow of candidates is restricted or even worse stopped, the talent pool will diminish even further, which is what we call a candidate-driven marketplace.

We have noted that British workers appear less interested in working in the travel sector than their EU counterparts and as a result travel companies for which we recruit are heavily dependent on EU citizens based across the UK.

If the recruitment of EU citizens were come to an end, salaries would need to increase substantially to attract British workers, but more importantly, the travel industry would have to do a great deal more to promote itself as being an attractive employer than it is currently perceived.

Regardless of how negotiations will transpire, travel companies should start making provision for this possibility and start tackling this now by assessing how the industry can work together to make the industry a more attractive recruitment option for British workers.

The industry will also need to be more flexible with their requirements. Quite often we see as specialist travel recruiters that travel companies are uncompromising about the employee that they hire, i.e. they will only consider a candidate who is currently in the same role, as opposed to thinking out the box.

This could be a great opportunity to bring in new talent and reduce the merry-go-round of the same talent we currently experience. So, there are positive points if we learn to embrace this change.

That said, however, there will certainly be a skills shortage in all roles, but clearly those that would be most affected would be those requiring a European language skillset. The travel industry will therefore need to pay more for British employees who are proficient in these languages or relocate their operations in this area to remaining parts of the EU. I predict the latter will be the more attractive option for travel companies.