UK managers want single market access and freedom of movement post-Brexit

22 May 2017 -


An exclusive CMI survey reveals what the nation’s managers are thinking about the big election issues

Matt Scott

Brexit is high on the priority list for UK managers in the run up to the snap general election, according to a survey from CMI.

Nearly three-quarters of managers (71%) think a deal that secures access to the single market and/or freedom of movement of people would be the best outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Brexit: What does it mean for managers?

Of the 801 UK managers surveyed by CMI, just one in five (19%) managers favoured a so-called ‘hard Brexit’.

Managers’ top five priorities from a new government are:

  1. Securing trade deals with non-EU countries (66%)
  2. Maintaining access to EU talent by guaranteeing the rights of existing residents (58%)
  3. Investing in capital infrastructure (53%)
  4. Maintaining investment in the Apprenticeship Levy (30%)
  5. Promoting UK higher education as an export (27%)

Just 19% called for a reduction in corporate tax to be a top priority.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Political leaders looking for a strong mandate from this election must consider the views of the UK’s 3.2 million managers, who are key drivers of the UK’s productivity. Managers have serious concerns about continued access to skilled workers, and this is motivating the desire for free movement of people post-Brexit.

“All parties should focus post-election on the need to build an internationally competitive economy based on a world-class skilled workforce.”

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Meanwhile, the necessity of the general election itself has been called into question, with some 37% of managers surveyed saying it has had a negative impact on their organisation and created even more uncertainty, while a fifth (19%) said it had made decision-making more difficult in their organisation and 18% said that it had caused more uncertainty among employees.

And this continuing political and economic uncertainty has taken its toll on British managers - 41% are feeling more stressed, 48% have more work to do, and 32% are working longer hours than 12 months ago.

As a result, more than a third (34%) said their quality of working life has declined.

“The Brexit referendum has clouded the UK economy with uncertainty, and this has had a massive impact on the effectiveness of managers to deliver strong business performance,” Francke said. “The quality of working life and health of managers is important, and uncertainty and stress is a productivity killer. We ask our political leaders to give UK managers clarity and invest in the skills they need to deliver.”

This Thursday CMI will be launching its own manifesto, outlining what it thinks the political parties should be doing about the big management issues facing UK Plc

Can’t wait that long? Find out what CMI thinks of the main party manifestos, here

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