German job site reports spike in British visitors after Brexit vote

© Fabrizio Bensch
A Berlin-based jobhunting website has reported “hundreds of thousands” more views from the UK following the referendum. As Britain is coming in terms with the outcome of the vote, latest poll indicates 5 percent of Leave voters already had a change of mind.

"Only in the past 10 days, the increase is in the hundreds of thousands of more UK visitors," the website’s founder Hessam Lavi said, speaking to the Local. This job search company called Jobspotting offers jobs across 10 countries, including Germany, the UK, Austria, Spain, Ireland as well as in non-European states such as South Africa or Argentina. 

The very next morning after Brexit vote, the website noted a boom in traffic from the UK. 

“Friday morning we woke and basically all of our servers were on fire,” Lavi recalls, adding that despite some of the users might have been lured by the articles outlining implications of the Brexit on the European workforce, a considerable amount of UK-based visitors were actually seeking job opportunities overseas.

Although Lavi could not provide the statistics of how many of those coming to the site from Britain were actually British nationals and what was the share of foreign workers fearing restrictions on alien employees, the data indicated 60 percent of users were writing in British English, another 25 in US English, with all the remaining languages comprising about 2 percent of all searches.

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"The mood is one of disbelief and shock, people are in limbo – they are disappointed and are wondering what is going to happen in the coming months," said Carrie King, editor of Journal by Jobspotting to the BBC, explaining the general sentiment held by the UK manpower in the times of economic and political uncertainty which gripped the country. 

The job seekers appeared to be mostly young professionals aged 25 to 34. They constituted 44 percent of the UK traffic. The vast share of users showed specific interest to the high-skilled jobs in Berlin, in particular in the IT sphere. Half of the applicants hail from London, which can indicate the UK’s capital can experience a kind of brain drain with its borders closed to the best talents all over Europe.

“Without this freedom of movement, London is going to suffer,” Lavi warned, stressing that “the framework of the EU and the stability that London will lack means it can easily attract talent from across the EU given the freedom of movement.”    

While the country has plunged into political turmoil following the narrow victory by the Leave camp, with it gaining 51.89 percent versus 48.11 percent by Remain, the latest poll by the Ispos Mori for BBC Newsnight carried out on 29-30 June has revealed 5 percent of the 1,077 adults interviewed that voted for Brexit to happen would now change their stance compared to 2 percent of the Remain voters.   

The attitude to the EU citizens eyeing a job in the UK is divisive within British society, with the country being largely split along the voting lines. While 67 percent of Remain voters do not oppose the EU citizens staying and working in the UK if the country’s access to the European single market stays in place. On the contrary, 66 percent of Leave voters advocate stripping the EU citizens of freedom of movement even if it means losing the advantages of the single market.