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The vast majority of Europeans living in the UK are concerned about the possible outcomes of a Brexit vote, according to totaljobs, with half (49%) worried about their job security.

The research also found that one in three believe they would be discriminated against when searching for a job in the UK. Spanish workers are most likely to feel discriminated against (40%), compared to a third (33%) of Polish, 32% of French and a quarter (25%) of German nationals.

More than half of Europeans currently living in the UK moved here for work-related reasons (58%), either for a specific job opportunity (26%) or because of the buoyant job market (32%). Job satisfaction is high with 65% of those questioned claiming to be satisfied or very satisfied with their current job. Respondents rated many aspects of their working life higher in the UK than in their home countries, including:

  • Salary (66% in the UK vs. 8% in their home country)
  • Career progression (56% vs. 9%)
  • Work/life balance (47% vs. 18%)
  • Benefits (44% vs. 9%)
Worryingly for employers, nearly half (40%) of respondents said that the British decision to hold the Brexit referendum has negatively affected their opinion of the country and is forcing some (25%) to reconsider their career options outside of the UK.

Alongside job security and impact on personal life, of the 87% of Europeans concerned about the potential Brexit major concerns also include political changes (36%), administrative procedures (36%) and currency fluctuations (30%). Concerns may have been caused by a lack of communication from HR as 61% of respondents said that their HR department has not been keeping them informed about the potential work policy changes if Britain leaves the EU.

John Salt, group sales director at totaljobs said: “It’s clear from our research that European workers in the UK are unsettled by the prospect of Brexit, and this may have an impact on productivity and employee turnover rates for UK employers. With the UK skills shortage already at a critical point, this is not a prospect many employers will relish. Totaljobs knows how important a happy and diverse workforce is to business success, and to see that 65% of Europeans in the UK are satisfied with their jobs is fantastic.

"To maintain and make the most of this, employers need to communicate with their employees about Brexit and seek to address any concerns they have. It is hard to predict what will happen following Brexit so employers are in a difficult position, however those who support their workforce through this unsettling and uncertain time will reap the benefits in higher staff retention and employee engagement rates going forward.”

The good news for employers is that despite their worries, the majority of EU expats in the UK (76%) hope to stay, even if Brexit were to become a reality. The determination to stay is strong; of those hoping to stay 71% would be willing to go through intensive administrative procedures to keep living in the UK after Brexit.

Half of respondents (50%) have considered applying for British nationality and 9% said they are in the process of applying. Only 7% of immigrant say they would not try to stay in the UK if it leaves the EU, while 18% are undecided. Of the 7% who would leave, a larger majority (67%) said they would be gone within two years of Brexit, with an even split between respondents planning to return to their home country (42%) and planning to move to another country within the EU (44).