Brexit “fog” impacting Scotland’s finance sector

by Chris Fairbairn

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

Leading recruiters warn of severe economic damage with candidates in limbo

Betsy Williamson of Core-Asset Consulting, captured in PR photography

TOP TALENT is continuing to depart one of Scotland’s most influential sectors as confusion around the nature of Britain’s EU withdrawal is compounded by COVID-19.

Over the last three months the number of new roles created in financial services is down 10.8% on the same period last year, despite a modest uptick in temporary roles being filled.

In addition, as firms offering “products” designed for the EU move operations and roles formerly in Scotland overseas, specialist recruiter Core-Asset Consulting is urging for some clarity of behalf of employers.

Betsy Williamson, said: “We need greater awareness of the day to day issues facing the financial sector right now. From our perspective, Scotland is struggling and losing more talent and roles than needs to be the case.

“Because it’s a service, it isn’t as tangible as the movement of goods, so the industry doesn’t get the same showing as fisheries, or physical import and export businesses.

“Yet roles working on EU-specific frameworks or products are leaving our shores without something there to replace them. It’s quite difficult to see it happening in front of our eyes.

“This isn’t about politics, or the rights or wrongs of Brexit. The time for that discussion has passed – it is now about plain economics. Giving businesses certainty to plan and people the confidence to stay and benefit our society and economy.

“Against a backdrop of COVID we can’t lose sight of the gargantuan changes that Brexit is bringing. We need policymakers to do their job, the main thing they’re paid to do, and make decisions.”

As Scotland’s leading recruiter in the financial services sector, in which it specialises, Betsy and her team have access to insights from thousands of candidates and Scotland’s very top employers in the sector, which in total accounts for around 7% of Scotland’s entire GDP.

In recent months, Core-Asset has been made aware of unusual individual cases, with talent stuck “in limbo” as Brexit and Covid-19 implications combine.

Betsy added: “We have numerous cases right now, where we have candidates from mainland Europe that we’ve placed in roles in Edinburgh. Their roles have now been relocated, often to Ireland, or back to the mainland.

“Yet because of Covid, they’re still here working from home. It doesn’t bode well longer term for Scotland unless it can be addressed by policymakers. We need these jobs here – they’re highly valued well remunerated – and therefore a big contributor to the local and national economy.

“At the start of the year, our annual salary guide pinpointed Brexit as the huge overriding issue the sector needed to face and adapt to.

“While Covid has jumped ahead in terms of urgency, the ramifications of Brexit are still playing out – and the picture is far too foggy as it stands. It’s impacting the health and prospects of a vital cog in the Scottish economy.”

Core-Asset Consulting boasts a team of specialist recruitment experts in the asset management, investment, financial services, accountancy and legal sectors. Formed in 2005, it was born out of founder, Betsy Williamson’s desire to take the best of her experience of large corporate recruiters, applying the focus on infrastructure and training to a more sector-specialised business.

It proved both an instant and enduring success, with the business securing market dominance north of the border. As a specialist recruiter based in Edinburgh, it offers its clients tailored solutions for permanent, temporary, contract and interim positions.

To download the salary guide in full, please visit:

For more information on Core-Asset Consulting, please visit:

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    Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

    Chris Fairbairn

    Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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