Those whose employers had been open with them about the impact that Brexit was having on the business and their contingency plans were notably more confident about their future prospects according to a survey of workers at large businesses, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.
"There is a clear message to UK Plc that they need to plan ahead for the business despite the attendant difficulties in doing so, and communicate openly about those plans with their people to engage talent," said EU expert Guy Lougher of Pinsent Masons.
"On the whole the UK workforce is demonstrating resilience, anticipating a downturn but retaining a level of confidence in their employers," he said.
Researchers spoke to over 1,000 professionals working at large businesses across a diverse range of sectors, including financial services, retail, accountancy, legal, media, health and IT and telecoms.
Although 64% of those surveyed said that they believed there was a realistic prospect of an economic downturn within the next three years as a result of Brexit, 57% said that they were confident in their employer's ability to respond to such a downturn. Only 14% of respondents said that they were not confident. Almost half, or 45%, rated their employer communications on the likely commercial impact of Brexit on their business as good or excellent; three times as many as those who felt it was poor or very poor.
More than a third, or 37%, of respondents said that it was likely that their employer would increase their pay over the next 12 months to offset the impact of inflation. However, 57% of respondents said that they expected their real pay to fall this year. On jobs, 36% of respondents said that it was likely that they could lose their jobs as a result of Brexit, while 65% said that it was likely that people they knew could lose their jobs.
Despite these findings, the vast majority of respondents to the survey said that they were unlikely to leave the UK to seek work elsewhere as a result of Brexit. The percentage increased slightly, from 8% to 13%, after two or three years; while 22% of those working in IT or telecommunications indicated that they could seek to relocate at this point.
Of those surveyed, Londoners and those in Scotland demonstrated the lowest levels of optimism about the potential impact of Brexit on their business. Londoners were most likely to strongly believe there would be an economic downturn as a result of Brexit, with 37% strongly believing that this would happen in the next three years; while 76% of Scottish respondents said that an economic downturn was "likely or very likely".