Could talent shortages and jobs lost to the EU be remedied by freelance consultancy?

With the first working week of 2021 complete, businesses will be getting to grips with the new rules and regulations come about as a result of Brexit. EY estimated that £1.2 trillion in assets have been moved from London to the EU, along with around 7,500 jobs. With work being lost to the EU, many people are likely to be uncertain about their career prospects, as high skilled workers face redundancy.

This is mirrored by an increase in the difficulty of importing EU-based talent as Brexit brings in more stringent rules around work and immigration. While the rules are designed in part to allow highly-skilled workers the opportunity to come to the UK, they may be put off by changeable legislation and red tape.

Workers can turn to freelancing as a way to utilise their years of experience if their position looks vulnerable. The rise of co-agencies, such as Future Strategy Club, has been prevalent during the past year, as lockdown and Brexit have led to an increasing number of workers turning their hand to freelance work as a source of extra income, or as a new career move in the wake of furlough and redundancies.

In post-COVID, post-Brexit times, the importance of short-term, freelance talent cannot be underestimated. 29% of business leaders have already streamlined their teams during the pandemic, and may be looking for talented individuals to help get projects off the ground as business begins to pick up once more. It also allows firms looking for specific talent to find it quickly and without breaking the bank.

Justin Small, Founder of Future Strategy Club, discusses the importance of freelancers post-COVID:

“At Future Strategy Club, we work with a body of these experienced individuals who now have many years’ worth of skills to tap in to, having weathered the 2008 crisis, COVID-19, and now Brexit. With kids and mortgages in tow, stepping back onto an upwards facing career ladder is not on the agenda. For the majority of these entrepreneurial self-starters, they see COVID-19 and Brexit as an opportunity to work for themselves, choose their own working environment and gain true security from their own knowledge and skillset.

Although historically, freelancers have been excluded from the benefits of the permanent workforce – including workplace culture, socialisation and support networks – it is clear that the perception of freelancers and skilled consulting work has long needed an overhaul. Now, with the turbulence caused in 2020, the private sector’s reliance on flexible workers will not only become apparent but crucial to its survival, delivering a positive step for the gig economy and its importance to the wider economy.”