The Implications of Brexit on Skills and Delivery in a Service-Based Economy

By Paul Sutcliffe, Director, EVORA

Five-and-a-half years ago I, together with two partners, set up EVORA, a specialist consultancy focused on the delivery of sustainability advice to the real estate industry.

Our plan was simple: we believed that the level of sustainability support to real estate businesses was limited. We wanted to create a consultancy that delivered value-adding sustainability advice to the industry as a professional service – something that, in our opinion, was markedly needed.

We have been successful and grown organically; by the end of the year we will have 20 staff. Our approach to recruitment has been simple - recruit the best staff and invest in their development to the benefit of all; individuals, the company and clients. To this end, we introduced a tough recruitment process designed to select the best. All who join have to complete multi-stage phone and face-to-face interviews followed by a timed interview test.

This policy has been successful. We have a strong and competent team. The success of our approach has also been demonstrated by business results. It has also resulted in approximately 25% of our workforce being made up of non-UK, European citizens.

All have been educated at top UK universities (a process that has, in itself, contributed to the UK economy). Furthermore, they continue to contribute to the economy, directly through tax contribution and also significantly, through the provision of consultancy advice that helps to enhance performance and improve competitiveness of our clients’ businesses. We have also expanded service delivery into Europe. We now offer services to UK and European real estate firms investing across the continent.

We would not be where we are today without our team. I also believe that although numbers and percentages are different, our general position and approach will be broadly representative of many other UK based professional service organisations (large and small). So recent political discussions about the mandatory listing of non-UK staff along with possible restrictions and/or limitations on our ability to retain existing staff and freely recruit the best staff available are deeply concerning.

I think it is crucial that UK Government recognises this. I know that this matter has already been raised by many businesses, large and small, however, at EVORA we felt it important to set out our views publicly.

The UK faces turbulent times ahead, and regardless of individual views on the results of the Brexit vote, any decision that impacts British business’s ability to recruit and retain the best staff will have a huge detrimental impact on business and ultimately economic performance.


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