Brexit, business, career, interview, jobs, politics, self improvement

How Brexit Affects Your Job Application

‘Brexit’ is the biggest challenge affecting the whole of British industry. ‘Brexit’ is an abbreviation for Britain’s intended exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019. With barely four months to go that deadline (as at the date this chapter was written), no agreement has yet been reached between Britain and other members of the EU as to what might happen on 30 March 2019, once Brexit has taken effect. Even Theresa May’s Conservative Administration cannot reach agreement between itself as to what it wants from Brexit. And the position of the Labour opposition is no more certain.
It is British industry which is most at risk from Brexit uncertainty. Will there be border controls? Will British industry still be able to export goods and services to Europe – or to anyone? How will Brexit affect industry’s ability to import the raw materials it needs to function? How will British industry be able to recruit staff from abroad? How did Britain even get itself into this mess? Let’s look at the history.
Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron had acquired a reputation for winning referenda. On 7 May 2011 he’d kicked his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, into touch when he defeated them in the referendum on voting reform. Three years later he saw off the threatened breakup of the United Kingdom when he scored decisively against Alex Salmond’s Scottish Nationalists in the 18 September 2014 Scottish Referendum. Now it was time to bulldoze Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
The party was formed at the beginning of the 1990’s with the single aim of forcing a national referendum on a proposal to take Britain out of the European Union, of which it had been a member since 1 January 1973. There had been a previous referendum commissioned by the Wilson Labour Government on 5 June 1975, when by a large majority the UK electorate voted to remain in what was then the European Common Market. But ever since Britain signed the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, bringing closer union between the member states, there was a growing body of political opinion against Britain remaining in the EU.
From their very beginnings both UKIP and James Goldsmith‘s ‘Referendum Party’ (which had similar aims) became a thorn for the Conservatives, not only because they were stealing votes from disaffected Tories but also by triggering an ideological split within the Conservative Party itself. That problem intensified in 2006 when the charismatic Nigel Farage took charge of UKIP. It was no longer just a single issue party, it became a personality cult and a credible fourth party, winning seats as well as votes.
Cameron responded by giving UKIP the referendum they demanded. Once that referendum had been lost, UKIP would be a spent force and he could get on with the business of being Prime Minister. But things did not go entirely to plan.
Like the 2011 referendum on voting reform and the 2014 Scottish Referendum, everything was going Cameron’s way. Business leaders supported him. Opinion polls showed a decisive lead for ‘remain’. Even Barak Obama had said that if Britain voted ‘leave’ it would be ‘back of the queue’ when it came to a future trade deal with the United States.
I thought I’d mis-heard when at 5am on Friday 24 June 2016 a radio news bulletin announced that ‘leave’ was leading the poll. That can’t be right. It was supposed to be ‘remain’. But that result was confirmed when I watched it on BBC Breakfast. The problem was that nobody had anticipated a ‘leave’ win. Worse still, no-one had worked out how a ‘leave’ win could even be implemented. Not even the ‘Brexiteers.’ It was all hot air. Big talk with nothing behind it. Two years on and still nobody has worked it out. So why am I telling you this? What has Brexit got to do with your job application?
Just this. If you have been invited to interview, you need to know everything about the company and the industry or market within which it operates. If you don’t take the trouble to do this, another candidate will pip you to the post. Brexit is just one example of an issue which will affect every prospective employer in different ways. Think about how it will affect the job you are applying for. You might even be asked a question on it. But even if you aren’t asked about it, the issue will set you on a train of thought in which you look at the world through the eyes of that company. What other industrywide issues or challenges is that company likely to face in the short to medium term and what options are open to it?

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