UK HR Managers Caught in the Crossfire Between COVID-19 and Brexit

Updated: Oct 7

The UK government is currently urging people to go back to their places of work. In fact,

there is such an urgency in this endeavour, that the government has employed vast media

campaigns to point out the benefits of working from an office as opposed to the fluffy,

comfortable slippers of work from home. 

However, we’re wondering, has anyone seen the elephant in the room? Let us point it out to

you: talent shortage, and overstaffing walking side by side in a post-COVID-19 and post-

Brexit world.

The Demand for Management, Technology, and Health Professionals

to Rise by 2030 

Before the COVID-19 crisis took over the world, occupations such as managers, technology

specialists, or health professionals were already projected to rise by nearly 20% by 2030. 

Considering the actual pandemic and Brexit, the active transformation of the working

environment in general, and the manufacturing industry in particular, things

might advance more rapidly than that.

HR managers are caught in the crossfire between the COVID-19 crisis which calls for

immediate, efficient digital transformation and new working skills, and the BREXIT which

has already disrupted the supply and demand for talent in the UK.  It will get more and more difficult for British employers to attract international talents now that the UK is out of the EU. Even so, the net migration from the European Union to the UK had already dropped to its lowest level since 2013.   

So, the COVID-19 is creating the demand for new digital skills, and the BREXIT is cutting the possibilities of foreign talent recruiting.   The steep talent shortage is transforming into a real problem in the UK, with CEOs and HR managers having to rethink their approach of acquiring and retaining talent.

What About Overstaffing 

In the early phase of the lockdown, the manufacturing industry had to deal with production

and supply chain disruptions, resulted from transport delays and raw materials shortages. In a word, things stopped.


As a result, most manufacturers are now experiencing overcapacity and overstaffing. What

are the solutions? The most immediate are layoffs, partial employment, and furlough.

However, COVID-19 situations make it more difficult to address middle to long tern work patterns and strategies. So, the elephant is sitting quietly in the room, and everyone seems


HR Managers Fighting an Unprecedented Uphill Battle 

The HR managers’ ability to do better staffing forecast is now more important than ever;

their flair for re-engineering a staff strategy is crucial. However, there are solutions,

ranging from scouting for partnerships to merger opportunities to ramp up production, to

even outsourcing production capacity.  

Things are not critical, but they’re on the verge of an abrupt change, and businesses need

their HR managers more prepared than ever.