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AJ100 2020

AJ100 2020: Practice leaders slightly less pessimistic about Brexit

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Brexit concerns were marginally reducing by the end of 2019

Before the pandemic, Brexit was the largest cloud on the horizon of many AJ100 practices. And, while this year’s survey revealed an upsurge in general optimism, it did not extend to the impact of Brexit. 

Asked about their ability to work in mainland Europe in the next few years, only 12 per cent declared themselves to be optimistic, of which 4 per cent were ‘very optimistic’, compared with 13 per cent and 1 per cent respectively last year.

However, only a third were pessimistic or very pessimistic, compared with 49 per cent the previous year. Instead, there was an increase from 38 per cent to 54 per cent in those identifying as ‘neutral’. The ‘very pessimistic’ category was little changed at 7 per cent, down from 8 per cent last time.

How pessimistic are you about the impact of Brexit on your ability to...

There was also a reduction in pessimism concerning the impact of Brexit on the ability of UK-based practices to hire staff who are citizens of EU member states in the next few years.

This fell from 69 per cent to 58 per cent, including 8 per cent who identified as ‘very pessimistic’, compared with 20 per cent the previous year.

More are now neutral – 35 per cent, up from 27 per cent in 2018.

So overall, the indications are that AJ100 practice leaders were less pessimistic about Brexit than they were a year ago by the end of 2019, while still being far from optimistic.

Bruce Tether is professor of management at the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester and Research Director of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The big issue for UK-facing practices is how the economic fall-out of Brexit affects both the appetite and the financial capacity of prospective clients, both private and public sector, to commit to investment in the built environment.
    Everyone will have their own preferred forecast of the overall impact of Brexit on corporate and individual finances, but few of them are positive.

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