Executive recruitment, exec-appointments and Brexit

Written by: James Dunne
Published on: 21 Jul 2016

Anyone who has ventured onto social media in the last few weeks or Googled search strings about “Brexit, executive, recruitment” will have not been short of things to read.  On social media the opposing sides seem to have slowly begun to stop hurling insults, but Google throws up no end of articles from no end of people on these subjects.  Some, probably the majority, continue to take the Private Fraser line* of “we’re doomed”, while others promise broad, sunlit uplands of prosperity. But which is more likely to prove true?

Sadly, truth is often the first casualty of politics and increasingly of economics.  One definite truth is that we haven’t left the EU yet and, with our new Prime Minister still settling into her role, it seems that we’re not going to trigger Article 50 for some months.  After that there are (at least) another two years to wait before we’re no longer part of the EU. That’s a long time in politics and who knows what will happen in the interim?  It wasn’t so long ago that people were happily planning to go on holiday to Turkey but no-one seems to have foreseen events in that country.

Another true fact is that there are lots of possible Brexit scenarios, either for good or bad, that might be enacted over the next few years.  The Leavers might turn out to have been right and everything in the garden will be rosy. On the other hand, the Remainers’ fears may prove correct and we’ll be a Third World country before we know it.  In my view, it’s very hard to know.  Yes, we can guess, but now the die is cast I would hope that no-one, other than the dangerously politically motivated, would hope for anything other than an improvement in the economy? Why would you wish disaster on your business?

However, there is one more thing we can say with certainty and that is that for a long time to come vast acres of newsprint and even greater areas of its digital equivalent will be filled with vigorous arguments for what should or should not happen and what the consequences will be when it does.  If a fraction of the effort that has been and will continue to be made on speculating about these things was channelled into taking positive action for business then perhaps we might experience less of a downturn than many expect.

For C-Suite executives and directors busy running their companies, we know that uncertainty sows seeds of discontent and worry.  It does seem likely the UK economy will continue to slow down in the next quarter and perhaps beyond that, but as in any downturn we would then have to deal with conditions that prevail at that time.  For exec-appointments, what matters are firms’ (senior-level) recruitment intentions.  These matter to our clients too – whether direct advertisers or recruitment consultancies, because it’s these senior people who will help steer the UK economy away from the reefs and rocks of recession.  We need quality people of vision, sagacity and courage at the top of our firms – large and small – as never before.        

Much will depend on how quickly confidence can be boosted over the summer, but I believe that the answer for most businesses is the same as it is for us here at exec-appointments.  We’re focusing on our normal, daily goals - creating quality advertising and recruitment marketing solutions that fill jobs for our clients. Of course, we’re keeping an eye on the economy (in this respect it doesn’t half help to be part of the FT – our colleagues do have a good idea what’s going on), but I am adamant we should leave the prophecies to the media and continue to provide our services to the best of our abilities. I’m sure that’s what our clients and candidates want us to do…

James Dunne, execp-appointments.com

Note for anyone from outside the UK… Private Fraser was a character in one of the most popular sitcoms ever on British Television.  You can see his (predating Brexit) catchphrase here: