Brexit: The implications; the solutions [New Future Forecast insights]

20 January 2017 -


The Brexit vote shocked the nation when it was cast last year. Here’s what UK managers think the future holds for Britain and the EU as we move into 2017

Matt Scott

When it came to deciding on Brexit, the nation was divided. After the dust had settled, CMI’s Future Forecast survey polled managers across the country to find out what British managers think the outcomes will be, and what these will mean for UK Plc.

The headline finding is that UK managers seem concerned about Brexit’s impact. Almost two-thirds (65%) of managers believe the Brexit vote will have a negative impact over the short-term, while 49% think the long-term effects will also be negative for the UK.


Foreign investment is also expected to suffer, with more than half (56%) of managers expecting a negative impact on overseas investment in the UK. Just this week, HSBC announced its intention to move 1,000 jobs from London to Paris.


The outcome is more nuanced when it comes to global competitiveness, however, with a similar proportion of managers expecting the UK to benefit on the global stage as they do suffer.


What seems clear is that businesses need to start acting now so they are not left treading water when the UK eventually leaves the European Union, likely to be in 2019.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Nearly half of managers (49%) believe that Brexit will have a negative impact on economic growth, so it’s imperative that we act now if we want UK business to remain dynamic and resilient.

“With the Prime Minister signalling that the UK will make a clean break from the EU, it is inevitable that the number of foreign workers coming to the UK will fall after Brexit, so we need to invest heavily in home-grown talent now to ensure that we have the skilled workers capable of plugging the gaps.”

The good news, however, is that managers are still confident in their ability to weather the Brexit storm despite the negativity about its implications.

More than half (54%) of those surveyed by CMI said they were confident in the ability of their senior executives to lead their organisation successfully, while only 34% said they felt UK businesses as a whole lacked the management and leadership experienced needed to be a success in the post-Brexit economic landscape.


And almost three-quarters (74%) of mangers said they felt investing in skills is even more importance now the nation has voted to leave the EU – only 3% said they disagreed with this.


Francke added: “Improving productivity, which is lagging around 18% behind our G7 competitors, is essential to success. Poor management costs the UK £84bn per year and is the primary cause of business failure, yet more than four in ten (43%) managers are currently rated as ineffective by their teams. We need to create, and properly train, two million new managers by 2024 to compete in the post-Brexit business world, as well as embedding leadership and management skills into our education system.”

Read the full 2017 Future Forecast findings

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