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Brexit Survey Results: Our Analysis

Posted on 11/07/2016 by Joe Henry

Blog tags: brexit, public policy, Government Relations, Government Affairs, Campaigns, Strategic Communications, Regulatory affairs, Corporate Affairs, Public Affairs, Research, Public Affairs, public relations, governement relations, public relations, Clients.
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The Survey

Westminster Search undertook a post Brexit survey of public affairs and public policy professionals. The survey was to understand the view point of this group of professionals in regards to Brexit and the economy, their organisation and staffing levels.

All respondents were from the public affairs/public policy sector and come from organisations such as agencies, consultancies, NGO’s, charities, private and public companies, the public sector and education.

The survey was undertaken on an anonymous basis so that respondents could answer in a candid manner.

Key Findings

19.80% of respondents believed that Brexit would be mildly to highly positive for the UK economy.

67.71% of respondents believed that Brexit would be mildly to very negative for the UK economy.

20.84% of respondents believed Brexit would be mildly or highly positive for their organisation.

48.96% of respondents believed that Brexit would have mildly or highly negative effects for their organisation.

Only 10.42% of respondents are going to reduce staffing levels

43.75% of all respondents are unable to say about future staffing levels

Agencies and consultancies were the most positive about the economy.

NGO and Charities were the most likely to see Brexit having highly negative effects.

Public Sector, NGO and Private sector have broadly similar combined mildly and highly negative scores (all circa 75%).

Highlighted Comments

A full range of comments has been included at the end of the survey results. We have highlighted seven comments that are insightful. We have included the full range of comments in the survey results section.

“The dog who chased the car caught it and now have no idea what to do with it”

“Brexit will mean lots of work for PA Professionals with EU expertise, but importance of initially managing company expectations about what we can realistically be done, as lots of directors will be tempted to force PA professionals to “do” something when there is - for now - little to, expect reviewing possible risks where company is exposed.”

“I think the negative impact is being severely overstated”

“The referendum has been a serious distraction for leaders who need to actually be gearing up for big long-term decisions including aviation, social care, housing and financial regulation.”

“It is very early to say what the impact will be, change and uncertainty are usually good for business, but some in some sectors a lack of confidence will impact directly on their plans for UK investment and engagement. I would expect to some client churn as a result, but this will be compensated for by those agencies able to focus on the new opportunities for growth Brexit represents.”

“A lot depends on the effect of Brexit on the public finance. If this forces further austerity, then it will probably force us to reduce our staffing, perhaps considerably. If the government chucks the fiscal rules out of the window and slow the pace of consolidation, we may be ok. Of course that is us as a company. The councils we work with will find it difficult indeed to cope with significant further cuts.”

“There will probably be an uplift in activity to begin with as people have to respond to the shock but eventually everything will shrink back again as the reality of the situation hits.”

Westminster Search Analysis

Overall amongst all groups there is a feeling that Brexit will be negative in general for the economy. However this feeling decreases when respondents talked about their own organisation. Where staffing levels were concerned the negative feeling dropped even further.

The staffing question is very key as it shows that most organisations do not know if they are going to decrease or increase staff (or are just not sure). Essentially this level of uncertainly sums up most of the post Brexit world.

Agencies and Consultancies have a very different view to other organisations. Taking this into account we believe the reason for these differences is because: Agencies are closer to the marketplace. Agencies are generally smaller businesses and business units whereas charities, public bodies or private companies/PLCs that have public affairs/public policy professionals are likely to be much bigger so are less likely to be in daily contact with the marketplace.

The key question was staffing levels and this, we think, paints a truer picture of the short term effect of Brexit. A majority of organisations are either unsure or will not change staffing levels. This broadly paints a picture that either people are waiting to see what will happen or have no plans to change current staffing within public policy teams.

Overall Brexit seems to be both a blessing and a curse to the public affairs/public policy industry, and only time will tell once we have settled down and adapted to the changes what the real outcome will be or indeed the total positive or negative impact.

To recieve the full report please email Joseph Henry