Business risks as workers in dark over Brexit

Most workers have been left in the dark by their employers over what Brexit will mean for the business according to KPMG research, which warns firms need to do more to explain to EU nationals in particular what the impact will be, or risk compromising growth

A survey of 4,015 members of the British public found that just 38% of employees said their employer had explained the implications of Brexit at work and only 39% reported their employer is adequately prepared.

The sectors where workers felt the most informed and positive about preparations were: manufacturing and industry (49% and 51%), and professional services (48% and 51%). The sector where workers felt the least informed and positive about preparations was healthcare (33% and 33%).

James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG said: ‘As business gears up to talk to the public about Brexit, it’s worrying to hear how few firms seem to have spoken to their employees about the changes that lie ahead.  This leaves workers less well prepared to anticipate and back the changes that may be needed to position companies for growth.

‘The public’s perceptions of whether the Brexit options will be good or bad for the country is highly related to whether their employer has explained Brexit.  This means business could have a decisive impact on the Brexit debate if it were successfully mobilised.’

The survey showed only 9% of EU nationals present in the UK workforce feel their employers have explained what Brexit might bring in detail, while 20% said their employer had explained what Brexit might mean in basic terms. Half (48%) reported their employer had not explained what Brexit might mean for their organisation.

Punam Birly, employment and immigration partner at KPMG, said: ‘Despite this group being a particular flight risk it looks like businesses aren’t doing enough to discuss Brexit with their EU nationals. 

‘Given the potential impact of losing key staff, the cost of recruitment, and the emphasis most businesses place on the role of their people, engaging with employees on Brexit makes good business sense.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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