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How Can Expats Find Jobs in the UK Post Brexit?

Since the UK's full departure from the EU at the start of 2021, many with second homes in the UK and British ex-pat's who live in Spain are finding life more difficult. The reality is that with the UK now being a third country, there are new barriers in terms of immigration, red-tape, driving licenses, and access to healthcare. For some, COVID-19 has galvanised their decision to escape to the sun, for others, the new friction means they are returning home. According to Michel Euesden of Euro Weekly, it is possible we will see a return of many ex-pats who are unwilling or unable to deal with the new post-Brexit friction; "If you're 70 or 80 years old and you don't understand this new system, the new paperwork, the driving licences needing to be switched over, say for example they get ill - what are they going to do? I think a lot of people will go back to the country where they speak the language. You no longer have the best of both worlds, and people can't rely on speaking only English to get by. They will be replaced by a younger set of people who can afford to be here". In this article, we will outline how ex-pats returning to the UK after Brexit can secure a job, and the sectors experiencing the highest demand at present.

Which Job Sectors Are Experiencing Increased Demand?

Some sectors in the UK are struggling at present due to external forces such as COVID-19, such as manufacturing, high street retail, and hospitality, but others are seeing an increase in demand. According to the Bank of England's 'Agents' summary of business conditions - 2020 Q4', despite the recent challenges in the economy, "there were a few reports of companies increasing staff numbers in certain sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, IT and professional services". According to LinkedIn's list of roles on the rise for 2021, there are several role types which are experiencing high demand:

  • Professionals on the frontlines of e-commerce – this includes warehouse jobs such as drivers, supply chain specialists, package handler, and personal shoppers
  • Healthcare support staff
  • Business development and sales professionals
  • Digital marketing professionals
  • Digital content creators
  • Professional and personal coaches
  • Specialised IT engineers
  • Mental health specialists
  • Data science specialists
  • AI practitioners

While this list has a US bias, it offers some useful pointers as to where the future economy is heading – i.e. heavily online. It also highlights our increasing dependence on healthcare workers of all types.

Research by Simply Business has highlighted some surprising roles and small business types which are in great demand now or are expected to be later this year, including:

  • Home bakers – this is now the fastest-growing trade according to Simply Business, seeing growth of 157% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Couriers, mobile hairdressers and property maintenance
  • Roofers
  • Electricians

This should come as welcome news for many who are relocating to the UK and need to seek employment. Other areas to consider are FinTech (the UK is a leader in Financial Technology), and energy (the UK is experiencing considerable growth in green energy in particular). Beyond these roles and sectors, the UK is continuing to see a large demand for workers in supermarkets and in care homes. There is concern within the care sector that if thousands of EU workers leave the UK if they do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before the end of June 2021, there may be a considerable shortage of carers to work in care homes. It is estimated that one in seven EU workers is still unaware of the importance of applying under the scheme if they wish to remain in the UK.

How Can Ex-Pats Find Work In The UK?

Depending on when you last worked in the UK, the job market may have moved on considerably. While in the past, to secure a job you might write to a prospective employer, the process is now predominantly online. It is highly advisable to start by creating a profile on LinkedIn (the social network for work) and a CV, showcasing your experience and skills. LinkedIn allows you to connect with former work colleagues, find jobs, and find influential hiring managers who you can reach out to.

To find suitable job vacancies, there are many large job websites listing thousands of roles across the UK. You can filter these by location, job type, part-time/full-time, and many other criteria. Another way to find a suitable role is to find recruitment agencies which operate in your field of experience and interest. Many workers in healthcare, for example, are recruited through agencies.

If you are keen to consider self-employment, there has never been a better time to do so. If you have an existing skill-set which you can leverage, this is on option worth considering. Indeed, freelancers are experiencing considerable demand, in large part because businesses are choosing not to recruit full-time workers, and use external specialists as and when needed.

Here are some resources you may find useful to find a job in the UK:

Final Words

With the seemingly endless amount of negative news coverage, it is all too easy to believe that entering (or re-entering) the job market is impossible or difficult. While those with skills which are not in demand, or those applying for roles for which there is considerable local competition may struggle to find employment immediately, if they are willing to be flexible or retrain if necessary, it is possible to find well paid and rewarding roles. There is no lack of help available for job seekers who need assistance with online skills, writing a CV, retraining, finding employment, or setting up a business and becoming self-employed.

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