Reward, Brexit and “oh my God, what have we done?”

I don’t mind admitting that the last part of the title above was very much my reaction when I heard the news (I was abroad with the family on holiday at the time). Since then water has been fairly gushing under the bridge and having parked my personal reaction I’ve been garnering information on what it means for my professional world, by which I mean for the Reward profession in the UK and globally.

Here’s a brief summary of my finding so far, in no particular order:

It’s business as usual in many organisations. While acknowledging that some change is inevitable, a large number of businesses had contingency models in place and as such, while a surprise, this has been no big shock. The reward function remains an utterly vital structure in these times and there’s no expectation of downsizing or halting the recruitment of reward professionals.

The process of extraction takes a long while so in the meantime we’ll carry on as we are, we’re still in the EU for at least two years and as such will continue to abide by the rules and regulations that we’re used to, we therefore need the Reward expertise available to us.

The banking industry Reward functions have been under the strain of major regulation for many years, some but not all coming from the EU. If Brexit means these regulations change, Reward professionals will be in demand to un-pick all that’s been done over the last five-plus years; if the regulations stay as they are Reward teams maintain their pivotal position in the business, the market remains as it is. That said there’s little movement there at the moment, but that’s not Brexit’s fault, the industry is still rebuilding itself, and while I’m sure it hasn’t helped the situation, it’s not the cause of a fairly closed door to new hires in some of the larger financial institutions.

Law firms and HR/Reward Consultancies are gearing up for busy times ahead so the reward functions within – both the in-house and the client facing consultancy teams – are likely to be growing in the coming months. Professionals with an interest in consultancy should get in touch. Many of these organisations are hiring people without prior consulting experience provided the technical skills and personality traits of a consultant are present.

Uncertainty has clearly not evaporated entirely now the vote have taken place, as such we as an organisation expect to see a significant up-tick in the interest in interim professionals as we come out of summer and into the second half of the year, and year end processes kick off for real

So if it’s all fine, why are there not as many jobs out there?

It’s absolutely fair to say the job market itself seems a little flat at the moment…but this is probably more down to it being summer than anything to do with the political landscape. The first half of this year was blighted by the uncertainty of Brexit, the second half always gets off to a sluggish start as everyone’s away at some point, but that changes as we get to the end of summer (see my musings Brexi/Bremain of a few weeks ago).

I have heard of only very few roles that have been affected as a result of this vote, too few to mention, and while it’s clearly too early to know what is going to happen it’s not happening yet in terms of recruitment in HR and particularly Reward. Hindsight will be the only way we’ll view the real effects of this referendum on the Reward market, at the moment it’s a case of keep calm and carry on…