Brexit is now a certainty, but it remains uncertain as to how it will affect Ireland and Irish jobs. The severity of effects, both good and bad, will differ from sector to sector and although 65% of job seekers believe Brexit will be bad for jobs there is still potential to capitalise.
The UK government held a referendum on June 23, 2016, where voters chose to exit the European Union. Two years were then allocated for negotiations, dictated by The Lisbon Treaty legislation. If by the end of the two years no decision is made, all other EU member states must agree to extend the decision-making process or Britain will exit with no deal in place. It’s predicted the process could take up to 10 years.
Potential positives of Brexit
The main positive impact for Irish businesses and Irish jobs include a potential increase in the number of multinational businesses moving to Ireland from the UK due to our attractive 12.5% corporate tax rate, compared to the EU average of 19.71%, and our highly educated workforce.
Potential is highest for Finance and Technology sectors. There has been a 30% increase in job listings in the Accountancy, Finance and Banking sector alone this year compared to last year.
Threats to Irish Jobs because of Brexit
So far effects have been miminal, in fact the Irish unemployment rate is currently 6.3 percent – the lowest jobless rate since June 2008, but rural employment and sectors that rely on trade are at risk.
Britain is Ireland’s closest and strongest trade partner and it’s no secret that Brexit could impact negatively on this. It’s predicted that trade could fall by 20% or more while tarrifs on goods are set to increase. This means traditional trade industries will have to come up with innovative solutions to capitalise on Brexit and potentially look to find alternative trade partners.
Brexit could also have a negative impact on Irish workers working in the UK, and UK workers working here in Ireland. Currently up to 30,000 workers commute between the UK and Ireland daily. Once the UK leaves the EU it is likely to have an impact on this workforce mobility and the free movement of people, both for UK citizens living and working in Ireland and for Irish citizens living and working in the UK.
Overall the effect of Brexit, both positive and negative, is uncertain. To minimise on job losses and remain an attractive place to do business we need to remain positive, support the EU negotiations and focus on innovative solutions.