UK Managers Want EU Single Market Access and Freedom of Movement from New Government

  • With the general election less than a month away, UK managers make their priorities for a new government clear
  • Brexit is at the forefront of their minds and 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
  • The research from the Chartered Management Institute found that managers’ top priorities include securing trade deals with non-EU countries, and maintaining access to EU talent by guaranteeing the rights of existing residents. The top five priorities did not include lowering corporation tax
  • Two in five (37%) have said decision to call a general election has had a negative impact on their organisation and caused more uncertainty
  • Year of political and economic uncertainty has taken its toll on UK’s managers: 41% are feeling more stressed, 48% have more work to do, and 32% are working longer hours than 12 months ago

22/05/17: In advance of the general election, UK managers have made clear what they want to see from a new government. With Brexit on the horizon, 43% of UK managers want the new government to prioritise retaining access to the single market and freedom of movement of people during the upcoming Brexit negotiations, according to new research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).  

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.

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, commented,Political leaders looking for a strong mandate from this election must consider the views of 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.”

Commissioned to gauge the sentiment of managers after the surprise general election was announced, the research reveals a significant number have already been affected by the snap election. Just under a fifth (19%) said it had made decision-making more difficult in their organisation, while a similar number (18%) said that it had caused more uncertainty among employees.

Perhaps as a result of the uncertainty, more managers (36%) of managers think the decision to call the election will have a negative impact on their organisation over the next 12 months, than those who think the effect will be positive (26%). 

The research also sought to uncover what impact the past 12 months of political and economic upheaval has had on managers. Over a third (34%) said their quality of working life has declined, a similar number (32%) are working longer hours, and 48% say they have more work to do. As a result, there has been a sharp rise in the number of managers who say they are more stressed (41%) and less motivated (35%) than they were 12 months ago.

Ann Francke continued: “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. 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.”

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About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

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With a member community of more than 140,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.