Some 70% of employers have received concerns from staff about job security or right to work in the UK following the vote to leave the EU, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
In response to the CIPD/People Management survey, 36% of employers said staff had expressed concerns about job security, while a further 36% of organisations said that non-UK employees had expressed concern about their continuing right to work in the UK.
The survey of 387 employers also highlights evidence of increased workplace tension and division as a result of the vote to leave the EU, with almost one in ten (8%) of respondents saying incidents had been reported and a further 25% saying incidents had been hinted at but not reported.
The survey is published as the latest Office for National Statistics figures show unemployment continued to fall in the months leading up to the Brexit vote. Unemployment between March and May stands at 4.9%, the lowest level since July 2005.
Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, said: “There is no doubt the vote to leave the UK has had a significant impact on the workplace with many people worrying about their future employment prospects. This is especially true of non-UK nationals, with many clearly concerned about their ability to continue to live and work in the UK after the vote. The Government needs to clearly set out their plans at the earliest opportunity for non-UK citizens to give those workers the clarity and security that they are seeking.
“Until a clear decision is made by government, many workers will be feeling in limbo so it’s essential that employers do what they can to reassure people during this time.
“For most employers it will be important to communicate clearly with employees, stressing that there will be no immediate changes and that the organisation will keep the workforce closely informed about any potential changes as the negotiation over the UK’s future relationship with Europe and likely implications become clearer.
“For organisations more immediately affected by a vote to leave, for example, because they already have plans to relocate headquarters or operations from the UK to elsewhere in Europe, then the emphasis should be on early and meaningful consultation with staff. This will mean consulting so that employees’ views can be taken into account before decisions are taken, that people feel that they have genuine voice, and that they are involved in the change process.
“The reports of division and tension at work are also a concern, coming as they do in the wake of reports of increased incidents of hate crimes. Employers have a duty of care to their employees and must ensure their working environment is fair, welcoming and tolerant for all. Line managers in particular have a key role in nipping conflict in the bud and making sure that what some may see as ‘banter’ does not cross the line and become offensive or harassment.”