Employers ‘poised to cut graduate hiring’ after Brexit

Half of the leading graduate employers in the UK will reduce their graduate intake if Britain votes to leave the European Union in Thursday's referendum, according to a new survey.

graduate looking for a job
Publication of the survey came as Bill Gates wrote a letter to The Times warning that Britain would be a "significantly less attractive place to do business and invest" were there to be a vote in favour of a Brexit.According to the graduate survey by PathMotion, a leading employer-to-candidate engagement platform, the sectors most likely to cut their graduate intake in the event of a 'leave' vote were in banking and finance, retail, media, technology and law – areas which, along with audit and professional services, annually employ more than 50,000 graduates.PathMotion said the three main reasons cited for downsizing graduate hires were the impact of Brexit on the economy, general uncertainty over future prospects, and a lower talent pool of EU graduates applying for jobs."While some firms would increase the hiring of British graduates to compensate for fewer EU graduates, the majority reported they would either apply for work permits to maintain current levels of EU graduates or reduce operations in the UK to manage with fewer graduates. Some firms reported that hiring more Brits for jobs currently held by EU graduates could impact on overall quality," said PathMotion.Companies employing EU graduates at present said they found it beneficial because of language and other skills advantageous when it came to dealing with global clients; specific job skills sets, for example in education and health; and the fact that EU membership offered a wider talent pool.David Rivel, PathMotion chief executive, said, “PathMotion presents the first study dedicated to assessing the impact of Brexit on UK-based graduates from the viewpoint of those that employ them."The concerns raised by graduates about the effect of a Brexit are now confirmed by employers, who predict a loss of graduate jobs in the UK. British graduates are not protected, despite some employers shifting from EU to British graduates. The survey also reveals that employers are worried at the prospect of losing access to the talent pool that they can already tap into.”The survey was based on interviews with HR managers, partners and senior executives at 75 of the top UK graduate employers, including 50 of Guardian UK 300 Top Graduate Employers and 40 of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.In his letter to The Times, Mr Gates said the UK would be "stronger, more prosperous and more influential" inside the EU, adding that Microsoft's decision to build research facilities in Cambridge was partly based on Britain's EU membership and access to the single market."While ultimately a matter for the British people to decide, it is clear to me that if Britain chooses to be outside of Europe, it will be a significantly less attractive place to do business and to invest," he wrote. "It will be harder to find and recruit the best talent from across the Continent; talent which, in turn, creates jobs for people in the UK."And, it would be harder to raise the investment needed for public goods such as new medicines and affordable clean energy solutions, for which we need the scale of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and financial backing that the combined strength of the EU provides."

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