Thanks to Brexit, we’re in a time of uncertainty. So how does it feel to launch your graduate career right now? Partnering with Trendence UK we’ve surveyed 1,675 students and first jobbers to find out.

The survey covers everything from which sectors are perceived to be most vulnerable to Brexit fallout, to how Brexit might influence behaviour and attitudes in the workplace.

So, what does Generation Brexit think? And what does that mean for your early careers marketing?

How worried are Generation Brexit?

Very. Not only do they think it will make it harder and take longer to find a job, they worry that its affect will last for a long time.

  • 63% of students believed that ‘The Brexit Effect’ will have an impact on their career for three years or more
  • 23% believe this effect will last for over a decade
  • The numbers are even more stark when it comes to first jobbers, at 74% and 20% respectively

What are their biggest fears?

They’re most concerned about employers’ ability to offer a competitive reason to join and stay.

Over 50% of both undergraduates and first jobbers surveyed felt that Brexit would negatively impact their ability to get a strong early careers salary, travel internationally, and work on international projects. And the figures for this last point are particularly stark:

  •  68% of students feel that opportunities for international work would be negatively affected

There were also concerns around development:

  • 37% of students expressed concerns that career progression would be impacted negatively, while only 14% thought it would improve their chances of progression

Has your sector been red-flagged?

When students were asked whether Brexit would positively, negatively or not affect specific industry’s ability to offer a good career, they thought several established sectors were in the danger zone.

  • Some 68% believed that Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism would be negatively affected by Brexit
  • This was followed by Retail (66%); Banking, Insurance and Financial Services (66%); Logistics and Supply Chain (63%); and Engineering, Design and Manufacture (62%)

Students are on the move

Traditionally, people are reluctant to move for jobs – except towards London. One of the striking things about our survey was the amount of people willing to move for work.

  • Some 58% of the students we spoke to would be willing to move over 50 miles for work with another 10% willing to move up to that mark

Of course, being prepared to move is not the same as actively looking to move. But what if Generation Brexit is willing to be more mobile?

This would mean a bigger talent pool, more competition and a need to review perks such as relocation benefits. And it means marketing your location just became a much bigger priority.

Playing the waiting game

Generation Brexit are also concerned about how long it will take them to find a job.

  • 58% of students felt Brexit would extend their job search
  • Of these, 43% thought it would take an extra 2-3 months, and 28% 3-6 months more

But they’re putting up a fight

So will this time of uncertainty make students and first jobbers behave differently in the workplace?

Overall, the data suggests not. The overwhelming majority is just as likely, or more likely, to be as demanding about their career. They’re still going to be busy asking their managers questions and offering up new ideas.

Brexit isn’t leading to disengaged employees. Quite the opposite, in fact. Generation Brexit is ready to be bold and fight for their opportunities – even if they’re diminished.

Storytelling and marketing in the age of Brexit

 Renew, retell and reprove your basic proposition

Graduates and first jobbers believe that basic parts of your proposition will be negatively impacted by Brexit: salary, training, progression and job security.

Students often need proof that your culture and values are real. Well, now the same can be said of the parts of your proposition that you thought were safely embedded. They need to be brought to life and evidenced once again.

Make pledges about your graduate investment

Going one step further, 56% of all those surveyed said they would respond very positively to organisations that made a pledge around their long-term commitment to investing in graduates. It would go a long way in easing fears around job security and career progression.

Brexit online and on-campus

Our survey revealed that:

  • 78% of graduates and 73% of first jobbers felt that it would be very useful to have content related to an employer’s approach to Brexit on their website

Ideally, they’d answer some of the following questions: Are expansion and investment plans affected? How will international work be impacted? Are there fewer graduate roles?

Of course, addressing these fears are particularly important in the red flag sectors where students are most concerned about negative impacts.

They were also keen for employers to reach out and talk frankly about Brexit:

  • 38% of those surveyed felt that hearing authentic stories from real employees about the positives and negatives of Brexit would be very useful
  • 31% also liked the idea of organisations having a dedicated Brexit careers advisor who can visit campuses, and explain Brexit plans and responses

Research, and research again

Surveys capture a snippet of time, but in the age of Brexit you need to keep researching – regularly gathering recruitment data, tracking your brand and finding out what graduates really think about you.

In fact, it’s the only way you’ll be able to stay ahead. By keeping your finger on the pulse of your target market, you’ll discover whether Brexit is still a barrier to their aspirations, as well as if they perceive you to be a safe place to build their career.

What’s the conclusion?

Brexit is uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds fear. That’s the reality of 18-25 year-olds who are launching their careers now. They’re braced for the negative impacts on their careers today – and in the many years to come.

But they’re made of sterner stuff. In the face of Brexit, it seems they’re prepared to fight for every opportunity. Early careers marketing needs to give them the information, support and belief they need to do just that.

To find out more about our research, and how Blackbridge can help you connect with Generation Brexit contact us.