I think it's a question a lot of businesses have found themselves wondering, particularly in industries or businesses where we rely on colleagues and workers from across the EU - whether that be in skilled, highly sought after specialisms, or unskilled industries, where a volume of workers is required - and we often find labour shortages.
We are of course (on the whole) speculating about what Brexit means for anything at present - however we are potentially looking at a stop to the current 'Freedom of Movement' for EU citizens as we know it. Dependent on just how 'hard' a Brexit this will be, this could potentially mean that workers from the EU will only be granted access to this country via a visa style system. Anyone who has ever applied for a visa, or worked with the system applying for visa's in this country will understand just how complex and lengthy a task this can be.
As I say - we can only speculate about which way this will go, however one of the key motivations for many of those who voted leave, was to allow the UK to take back it's border control - which suggests that the freedom of movement for EU citizens will be under serious scrutiny.
This will of course impact employment and recruitment processes as we know it. If we do go down the visa route for EU citizens, I imagine it will mean that the number of non skilled workers entering this country will dramatically decrease. As I say, the visa process (currently) is arduous, complex and lengthy. The level of resource and investment it currently takes to bring a member of staff into this country from say the United States would simply not be feasible or economical for many of our SME's to sustain on a regular basis.
For those companies who would have the resource and the requirement to undertake whatever visa or screening process required to employ EU workers, I imagine their recruitment processes will need to be reviewed and completely tightened up. As part of the (current) visa process everything must be documented, recorded and kept up to date in real time in preparation for any official visits that make take place to scrutinise your paperwork. With, for example, a Tier 2 visa the employer may need undertake (and suitably document) a 'resident labour market test', which (in short) is to satisfy that there is no suitable person already settled in the UK who could undertake the role for which you are applying for a visa. A fair request - but it is just an example of one of the many hoops employers may have to jump through in order to bring EU workers into this country.
I understand some of those who voted Brexit want 'British jobs for British people' - however the consideration has to be made as to whether our businesses are enriched by the different skills, experiences and approaches to work that our neighbors in the rest of the EU can bring the table.
However - I really don't think it's all doom and gloom. If a visa or official screening process is introduced for EU workers, perhaps this is an opportunity for the UK to invest in the education of the workforce of tomorrow - students. Perhaps we could use some of the capital we (supposedly) will not be spending with EU to invest in both academic and practical education in schools, colleges and universities, relevant to the current labour market, reflecting the needs that businesses actually have. We could invest in training and re-training in areas where we currently have skills shortages and are reliant on workers from outside the UK. Why not 'grow our own'.
As of November 2017 538,000 young people (aged 16-24) were classed as unemployed in this country. Given some inspiration, some hope, purpose and investment, perhaps this is a potential opportunity to start to plug our labour market gaps, motivating and supporting young people into employment.
As with all areas of the economy, Brexit presents both opportunities and threats, and it will be interesting to see how the decisions made will shape the future of how we recruit and employ our workforce.