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When people ask Andrew Harvey of recruitment experts VMA what happened to the IC jobs market after the Brexit vote, he says: “Absolutely nothing…”

Comparing the situation to the economic crash of 2008, he says the difference couldn’t be more stark.
“I remember when everyone started panicking after the Lehman Brothers collapse,” recalls Andrew, executive director of the IC practice at VMA. “Back then, the internal comms jobs market dropped off a cliff. People cancelled vacancies overnight and the words ‘recruitment freeze’ cropped up everywhere.
“When I woke up the morning after the Brexit vote and heard the result, I was a bit nervous coming in to work. But nothing happened…”
He says VMA were dealing with around 50 internal comms vacancies during June and July and says not one client called to cancel.
“Not one has said ‘We’re nervous’ or mentioned the words ‘recruitment freeze’,” says Andrew. “Actually, we’ve had companies calling us saying ‘We need to hire more comms people’ – and that’s come from financial services, retail and even comms agencies.
“For most people it’s still business as usual, they need to recruit generally.”
The same attitude has continued with those looking for new jobs.
“There’s still a huge appetite among IC candidates to move and develop their career,” he says. “In 2008 people were nervous, it was all about job security and most decided to stay put. But, this time, we’ve had one candidate out of around 500 withdraw their details because they’re a bit cautious about moving at the moment. No-one else has even mentioned it.
“We haven’t had one question about what it means for workers from other EU countries. I don’t think it will affect people working across various countries in professional roles – we’re not dealing with factory workers or even blue-collar workers.”
He says Brexit could even be good news for communicators seeking interim roles.
“It’s great news for the interim market. It’s grown tremendously over the past couple of years anyway and that flexible resource is something that’s seen as a real positive. It may well be that companies will bring in interims just to deal with Brexit comms while it goes on, that could well be a growth area.”
In the meantime, Andrew says there has been a lot of reassurance going on both at VMA and at companies he deals with.
“Lots of employees have been asking ‘What does it mean?’ On that morning it was the first thing that happened here,” he recalls. “Our MD sent a communication to staff reassuring them that for the foreseeable future nothing would change.
“Lots of heads of comms I know were flat out, busy doing comms around that message. Feedback from people I deal with in manufacturing, retail and services, they’re saying things might change at some point and that point might be one or even two years down the line.
“I’m watching the same news programmes as everyone else and I don’t think anyone knows. We haven’t triggered Article 50, we aren’t actually in formal negotiations yet.”
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