Whilst Brexit, the impending withdrawal of the UK from the EU, was supported by a majority of British voters at the 23rd of June 2016 referendum, it’s likely to have a significant impact on employment and HR. Organisations and policymakers are looking to find answers to all Brexit-related questions. Contributor Chieu Cao, Co-founder and CMO – Perkbox.
In parallel, British citizens have also tried doing their homework by looking for answers to their biggest concerns around Brexit. Here are the top highlights according to 2015-18 online searches: Those who say that nobody was smart enough to understand and foresee the real implications of Brexit could be right for more reasons than one. ‘What is Brexit?’ was searched 341,220 times more in 2016 than in 2015. Searches in 2017 totalled an outstanding 117,100 and in the first half of 2018 the average was around 6,800 searches/monthly.
Regardless of this, it’s clear that these are anxious times for the 2.9 million citizens from other EU countries living in the UK. ‘British Citizenship Test’ was increasingly searched throughout the 2015-18 period with a 36 percent increase in online searches from 2015-16 and an 16 percent increase from 2016-17 at 109,700. In the first half of 2018 this phrase was searched 73,800 times.
But perhaps what’s most worrying, is how much the phrase ‘What is the EU?’ is being searched since 2015. Searches rose by 272 percent in 2016 with a significant peak the month before the referendum (May 2016) in which month a total of 9,900 searches were made for this question. Whilst it decreased again to 28,290 and 13,900 in 2017 and 2018 (Jan-June) consecutively, it’s still clear that it’s something UK citizens are unsure about.
Chieu Cao, Co-founder and CMO at Perkbox says: “There’s certainly no shortage of headlines around Brexit and the impact it will have on our jobs and workplaces. In fact, three in four HR professionals expect Brexit to escalate the ‘war for talent’ according to CIPD. Something as complicated and multi-faceted as Brexit should probably not have been decided in this way. However, whilst we’re obviously not sure of what the future might hold, the fear of the unknown is only natural, we need to learn to embrace it whilst slowly looking to find a solution to things”.
Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush says: “Search can be an excellent indicator of what concerns people. This research revealed UK citizens are still surprisingly unsure about both, Brexit and the EU, as their online search activity for basic definitions of “Brexit” and “EU” is still very high. The vast quantity of searches for “British Citizenship Test” also gives an indication about the level of uncertainty amongst EU citizens living in the UK.”