Managers overwhelmingly negative over Brexit outlook [Survey]

19 September 2016 -


But CMI’s Ann Francke said business needs to focus on what they can do to influence their own futures and invest in their management capabilities

Matt Scott

An economic slowdown, a shortage of talent and poorer job security are just three of the ways British managers think Brexit will negatively affect British business, according to a survey by CMI.

The survey of 1,065 managers found that 79% predict Britain is set for negative economic growth over the next 12 to 18 months, while only 35% see the Brexit vote leading to economic growth over the next three to five years.

It is widely believed by managers that foreign investment will be affected; with three in five suggesting that Britain’s split from the EU will reduce the flow of overseas capital into the UK.

Management teams also lack faith in the ability of their senior executives to navigate a post-Brexit-vote marketplace, with less than half (48%) lacking confidence that their leaders are able to lead their organisations in a Britain removed from Europe.

The concern extends to their own teams, with 44% worried about the future status of current employees who are EU nationals, and 38% saying that difficulty in recruiting staff from the continent will affect their organisation in the future.

Recruitment and training are identified as the top two areas expected to receive budget cuts, despite four in five (80%) of those surveyed citing investment into skills as even more important following the vote.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said managers needed to move beyond the negativity and focus on improving the standards of management, which is needed for businesses to handle the uncertainty that Brexit has created.

“Brexit uncertainty has made many managers deeply anxious about growth, finance and access to talent from EU countries,” she said. “But we need to move beyond being negative or waiting for the Government to fix things. It’s within our gift to make the most of the opportunities, and this starts with investing in the skills that will make us competitive.

“We know that poor management costs UK plc £19bn in lower productivity, leaving us lagging behind our G7 EU neighbours. We need to equip our leaders and managers with the skills to embrace change, build trust and create working cultures with positive role models and inclusive values. Doing so will give us a better-managed Britain able to thrive in a post-Brexit economy.”

A renewed focus on skills means that nearly half (48%) of the managers surveyed now agree that the Apprenticeship Levy should be introduced as planned, compared to just 17% who disagree.

In other findings, managers’ worries extend to their own finances, with 58% believing that their earnings and savings will be negatively affected and 39% fearing the security of their jobs is at risk.

Just 13% believed the Brexit vote would have any positive impact on their long term career prospects.

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