Brexit negotiations will continue to generate headlines until a settlement is reached but, in Australia, new visa restrictions are causing some similar doubts in the nation’s own recruitment market. And do you work in one of the UK’s most stressful regions?

Brexit impact on SME recruitment

Another voice from the recruitment industry has expressed concern that Brexit uncertainty is harming the expansion aspirations of many British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) this week.

Data released by online recruiters Indeed.com showed a dramatic fall in jobs searches made by EU nationals looking for work within the UK since the referendum in June 2016. The company said that the past twelve months saw an 18 per cent fall in traffic from EU citizens: the largest in the site’s history.

Ben Martin, the founder of Brexit Tracker – a website investigating the effects of Brexit on SMEs – suggested that reasons for this go beyond individuals feeling welcome, or confident in building a secure future in Britain. He says: “The weakened pound means you have now got to earn 15 per cent more than last year, to make Britain attractive”.

Visa changes to hit recruitment in Australian SMEs

A similar story is being revealed half the world away in Australia, where new visa restrictions come into affect which seek to limit the access that SMEs currently enjoy to skilled foreign workers.

The visa restrictions have been introduced by immigration minister Peter Dutton as a way to block family-run businesses from acting as ”sponsors” for migrants seeking a fast track into the country.

The measures bar companies with turnover of less than $1M from hiring overseas workers to fill a number of specific roles. But representatives for SMEs in Australia say the restrictions are too broad, and include several specialist roles such as accountants, consultants, logistical managers and events planners.

Peter Strong of the Council of Small Business Australia criticised the changes, saying that revenues were a poor metric upon which to base recruitment rights, leaving SMEs unfairly disadvantaged. ”You ’t cull on turnover. I have no problem with trying to close loopholes. But a business of any size should be able to prove they need that person.”

Both in Britain and Australia it appears recruiters will have to adjust to working within the confines of stricter government policy.

Language skills at the heart of recruitment

Meanwhile, overseas workers who still have their heart set on working in the United Kingdom will probably be taking note of new findings by language assessment body Cambridge English, which suggests the power of language skills is being underestimated by many in the jobs market.

The research, conducted by Cambridge English Language Assessment and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) found that advanced language skills were the key to faster career progression and future prospects in every sector – and within organisations of all sizes.

That, in itself, should not come as too great a surprise. The more intriguing aspect of the research was focused on the four individual areas of communication – speaking, writing, reading, and listening – and the discovery that enterprises of differing sizes prioritised each differently.

Researchers found that, as organisations grow larger, they become more reliant on staff who demonstrate advanced reading abilities. Conversely, within smaller enterprises it was speaking that was considered by far the most important aspect of communication. This may reflect internal company cultures, where a larger organisation relies upon remote communications, and where smaller companies may often require every team member to demonstrate customer-facing skills alongside their core specialisations.

Traditionally, candidates demonstrate language attainment through exams and standardised qualifications. But these findings demonstrate how modern solutions – such as semantic search functions within recruitment software – could represent a smarter solution: tracking real world experience and capabilities for employers who seek increasingly specific language and communication skills.

Stress map of the UK

Working in Britain? Then you’re probably stressed. That was the finding of a client survey carried out by the online accountancy firm Crunch Accounting this week. Although the company had initially planned to create a stress map of Great Britain, they instead discovered that it doesn’t matter where you live, because you are probably stressed anyway.

Half (50 per cent) of all workers in the north said they suffered from ”the Sunday night blues”, while only 33 per cent of southerners said that they don’t like Mondays. More troubling was the finding that 38 per cent of northerners said they suffered permanent, work-related stress – and 34 per cent of southerners felt an equally constant pressure.

Despite this, a larger portion of southerners (25 per cent compared to 22 per cent) were considering switching jobs due to their stress: perhaps indicating that respondents in the south had greater confident in finding new employment opportunities than stress-sufferers in the north.

Although the data does suggest a very slight north-south divide in at-work fulfillment, recruiters are more likely to ask why such a large portion of the workforce remains unhappy in their current roles. Many will ask if we can play a leading role in solving the conundrum of job satisfaction.