Jobseekers look abroad following election results

There was a sudden surge in UK-based workers seeking jobs abroad as the results of last week's general election began to emerge, according to research by Indeed, the world's largest job site.

Flight paths out of the UK with country names and flags
When it became clear in the early hours of Friday morning, 13 December 2019, that Prime Minister Boris Johnson - who ran on the slogan 'Get Brexit Done' - had secured the largest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, there was a 25% increase in searches on the Indeed website for positions outside the UK.

Conservative victory: EU nationals face uncertain future

Many of the jobseekers were believed to be EU nationals working in the UK who, facing an uncertain future given the Conservatives' pledge to complete Brexit by January 31, were suddenly anxious to return home or find placements elsewhere in the world.Searches for foreign jobs on Indeed leapt up immediately after exit poll results were published at 10pm. By 4am on Friday, when it was clear which way the election was going, searches for jobs outside the UK began to increase sharply and, during the course of the day, were a quarter more numerous than they had been a week earlier, based on an analysis of the share of all searches by Indeed users with a UK IP address.

Job search: which countries had an increase?

The countries that saw the biggest increase in job searches between Friday, December 6, and Friday, December 13, were Canada (up 111%), Ireland (up 44%), Italy (up 32%), Germany (up 28%), and Australia and Poland, both up by a fifth."The findings suggest jobseeker behaviour can be quickly influenced by political events. A previous study by Indeed showed UK-based jobseekers immediately looked for work abroad after the EU referendum result in 2016," said Indeed."Searches from the UK to the rest of the world were 73% higher at their peak on June 24 – the day after the vote – than the average in the days before the results were announced."Related articlesPawel Adrjan, economist at the global job site, added, “It seems UK-based jobseekers were paying close attention to the election result not just for news about their local candidates but to help inform career choices, too.“The surge in searches for jobs abroad is a significant one and follows a pattern of jumps in jobseeker interest in working abroad after political events. Our data also showed elevated searches for jobs abroad following the referendum result, triggering Article 50 and now seemingly edging closer to leaving the European Union.“Interestingly, the countries that saw the biggest increases were Canada and Ireland, English-speaking countries with strong ties to the UK. However, there were also large rises in searches for jobs in other European countries which suggests foreign workers in the UK could be looking to work on the continent or could be returning home.“These non-UK citizens could also be concerned about their immigration status after the Brexit transition period due to end in December 2020. Overall, these trends are concerning for public and private-sector employers struggling to find hires in today’s tight labour market.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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