Brian Harris, chief product officer at Currencies Direct, saw firsthand the kind of Brexit challenges facing UK businesses when he recently attended a European financial technology conference.
Harris noticed that several European associations were representing their countries as alternative places to live and work. “Other countries and other cities are utilising Brexit as a catalyst for letting people and businesses know there is an alternative to London,” he warns. “That is something every business needs to be aware of.”
The foreign exchange broker and international payment provider, which has 450 employees, has two main approaches to potential Brexit challenges. The first is to embrace the here and now, and to ensure that a steady stream of bright and committed people are being recruited. At present, talent shortage is not an issue, says Harris, who reports that Currencies Direct recently received 107 well-qualified applicants for an entry-level marketing role.
Harris adds: “One of the things we have been committed to in our organisation is people development. Making sure that, for instance, our people in marketing are getting new qualifications and receiving exposure to other parts of marketing that may not be directly part of their role, but are related.”
The board is also focused on ensuring that it has a plan if the hiring environment changes. “We have been building our infrastructure and capabilities in our office in Mumbai, so that if we were in a situation where we were having more challenges recruiting in the UK, we have the option to expand our capabilities,” explains Harris.
However, Harris and his colleagues are staying positive. “It’s one of those things where if you were to read various research reports, you would feel a sense of doom and gloom,” he explains. “While I don’t dismiss the potential for some of those eventualities to unfold, the reality isn’t that case right now.”