Brexit: UK still ‘most attractive country’ for employers

The Guardian — The UK is still the most attractive European country for employers and staff, despite the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote, according to a report by Colliers International.

A combination of talent, location, quality of life and cost puts Britain ahead of rivals, the commercial property firm said, with London ranking first in the league table of 50 European cities. Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow also featured in the top 20.

“In the face of negative reports surrounding the UK’s political, social, economic and country risk issues, our research demonstrates that the country as a whole remains in a particularly strong position,” said Simon Ford, a director at Colliers.

The government has insisted in recent weeks that London and the UK will remain an attractive place for business to invest after Britain leaves the EU.

There are fears however that in the absence of any clarity on a potential deal with the EU, multinational firms are preparing to activate their Brexit contingency plans and move jobs from the UK to other European towns and cities where they will enjoy guaranteed access to the single market.

Frankfurt is one of the frontrunners among a host of European cities hoping to attract banking and financial services jobs away from London after Brexit, as firms seek guaranteed access to the single market. Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam and Luxembourg are also contenders#

However, according to Colliers’s analysis, London beats Paris into second place as the most attractive city for firms and employees. Ford said that part of the reason why London was ahead of Paris in the study was its broader catchment area, giving it access to a bigger workforce beyond the M25. Frankfurt is ranked in 14th place as the most attractive city for employees and 15th for employers.

Colliers said that while Brexit had made the UK a riskier place to invest, it was still among the lowest risk European countries to set up and operate a business.

“It is clear from our analysis that the operational risk profile of the UK has weakened as a result of Brexit, more so than any other European country since 2014,” said Damian Harrington, head of European research at Colliers. “Yet it remains one of the lowest risk European countries to set up and operate a business, and the added benefit of far more flexible labour laws means UK cities take a very strong standing.