Brexit ‘To be, or not to be …’

Whatever your view on Brexit, the political, policy and trade uncertainties are hot topics for UK businesses. Some Clients are busy making preparations – from setting up legal entities outside the UK in places like Malta and Ireland, and assessing the impact of currency volatility, through to evaluating supply chain disruption, and of course staffing impact. Some Clients are taking things one stage further, anticipating a short term recession driven by lack of business confidence and investment. This general atmosphere of uncertainty is evident when we speak to Fund Managers, who appear to be sitting on larger than usual piles of cash!

Against this unprecedented period of change and uncertainty, companies are also finding that the world of work is changing. Baby Boomers are retiring, Millennial Managers have very different expectations and aspirations, and technology – from AI to robotics – will reshape the workforce of tomorrow.  With new roles being created, our Research & Insight team have been tasked by Clients to help them understand how other companies are combining such roles, and shaping new ones.

So how are we seeing this uncertainty play out?

Firstly, whilst the top 4 Consulting Houses have been building huge Brexit teams to advise on business scenario planning, these teams have, in many cases, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. In some instances, Clients have asked for Interim support to decipher consulting reports, turning this data into real and measureable deliverables.  In other cases, they have needed experienced Interim Executives who can manage the various Brexit scenarios (which may impact manufacturing and production, JVs, outsourcing, cash flow and technology etc.) and then turn ideas into actions. Interims in these situations have been working closely with leadership teams and other staff who have benefited not only from their mentoring, but also from the positive energy they bring.

In some sectors/functions there has been a slowing down in senior permanent appointments during H2 2018. However, in mission critical areas such as CFO, Technology, and regulatory-driven roles (CRO in financial services companies), the appetite to hire remains strong. Variations on a theme continue to drive the Commercial Director role, whilst there is increasing momentum for consolidation in the COO/ CIO space due to increased automation across operational areas, and a need for operating efficiencies.

What has been evident over the last 12 months is that Clients are looking for different people solutions. These solutions include: righting gender imbalances, becoming more inclusive, and building a flexible workforce that is no longer majority FTE. These are all helping create greater innovation and business agility which, in turn, will help our Clients weather whatever storms may lie ahead.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, or discuss a specific assignment, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Hickmore, Managing Director, on +44 (0) 0207 484 0000 or via angela.hickmore@normanbroadbent.com for an initial confidential discussion