Soft Brexit. Hard Brexit. Somewhere-in-the-middle Brexit.

Quick Brexit, slow Brexit. Brexit negotiated by the left; Brexit negotiated by the right.

With so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it’s not surprising that SMEs are concerned about how Brexit will affect them, particularly when it comes to outsourcing work within the EU.Post-Brexit Future

A poll by online freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour has revealed what worries SMEs most about Brexit – and hiring EU freelancers in the future.

The Current Picture

The reliance of SMEs on European talent was made clear not just in this poll but in another PPH conducted recently about how SMEs uses freelancers. That poll revealed that 67% of SMEs use freelance talent from Europe.

Meanwhile, PPH’s poll on Brexit outsourcing fears showed that there were few concerns about exporting – probably because only 13% of respondents said they exported to Europe.

However, while only 3% of SMEs hired more than half their labour from Europe, all the respondents said at least 10% of their projects were given to European professionals.

Brexit Fears

47% of SMEs were concerned that Brexit will bring increased bureaucracy that could discourage them from hiring freelancers in future.

But SME’s concerns about Brexit were not only centred on outsourcing problems.

63% were worried that it may make financing their business more difficult and 14% were concerned about potential increases in airfares. Meanwhile, only 27% felt that Brexit would be of any benefit whatsoever to their business.

The Transition Period: A High Point for Freelancers?

With 57% of freelancers concerned about the potential additional costs involved in transferring money from the UK to the EU, it’s good that the PPH poll could deliver a little positive news for them.

61% of SMEs said that they would be more likely to work with freelancers while the Brexit transition takes place and 56% believe they are likely to spend more on freelancers during that time.

“Not surprisingly, it’s the financial impact of Brexit which most concerns the small and medium enterprises of the UK,” said Xenios Thrasyvoulou CEO of PeoplePerHour. “While exporting isn’t really an issue for most, the potential hike in the cost of hiring overseas talent – not to mention the inevitable added bureaucracy – is a real concern.

“The UK, will of course try to make agreements that will eliminate these problems but nothing is for certain. Having said that an advantage could be that employment law control will be returned to the UK which may make it more appealing to set up a business here.

“It’s crucial that the next government make the impact of hiring European talent, both in terms of red tape and costs, absolutely clear so that businesses can plan for a Brexit Britain.”