Labour market implications of Brexit

Professor John FitzGerald says how, on balance, the Brexit decision is not a good outcome for Ireland but that it will take many years to play out

Brexit continues to be a cause of concern and uncertainty for many businesses in Ireland. We were delighted to see a large number of HR professionals at our recent CIPD Ireland Brexit briefing where uncertainty, attracting talent, free movement of people, data borders and infrastructure were amongst the challenges discussed.

Delegates heard key note speaker Professor John FitzGerald talk about how, on balance, the Brexit decision is not a good outcome for Ireland but that it will take many years to play out, giving time to reap some of the benefits and deal with emerging challenges. He stressed the importance of the relationship between Ireland and the UK in terms of the closeness of our labour markets and free movement of people.

Professor FitzGerald acknowledged the plusses and minuses, and likely benefits for the financial services sector if key players opt to locate in Ireland. However this development poses challenges in attracting top talent to Ireland when we have a shortage of housing, lack of international schools and the possible knock on effect of upward pay trends. Concerned about EU funding, academics and researchers are already showing interest in coming to Ireland. These messages were reinforced by panellist Ronan Hill, Operations Director Morgan McKinley.

You can download Professor John FitzGerald's presentation below.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has recently launched a new online Employment Permits System which may go some way to reducing the processing time of Employment Permit applications, hopefully facilitating speedier recruitment and on boarding of applicants. Issues such as housing and immigration require an urgent multi stakeholder approach if Ireland is to reap some of the benefits of the Brexit decision.

Terence McCrann Head of McCann FitzGerald’s Employment Group, outlined the need for further dialogue and the value of each business establishing a Brexit Group with HR at the centre, to maximise the Brexit opportunities and mitigate the risks. He encouraged companies to be proactive and not wait for the high level political decisions before beginning the job of navigating a way forward.

Members are keen to have access to regular updates on Brexit publications and developments, and CIPD is planning our response to this. Mary Connaughton, Director of CIPD Ireland, talked about how the CIPD is here to support HR through this period of change and will work closely with government and key stakeholders to ensure that the HR voice is heard as we continue to champion better work and working lives for the benefits of all.