Two-thirds of EU nationals living and working in the Britain in the marketing and creative industries are considering leaving the UK because of Brexit, according to a new survey conducted exclusively for Marketing Week’s parent company Centaur.
Some 31% of respondents, which include marketers, creatives and designers, say they will “definitely” or “probably” leave, while a further 31% are unsure whether they will stay or not. Just 38% say they will “definitely” or “probably” stay.
The results seem to confirm the worst fears of the marketing industry that the vote to leave the EU could result in a talent exodus from the UK. The industry is hugely reliant on workers from across the EU, as well as globally, and maintaining access to that talent pool has been high on the agenda for agencies, companies and trade bodies such as the Advertising Association.
That is backed up by the issues that those working in the marketing and creative see as most important in any Brexit deal. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of these issues. A score of one indicates it is not very important, while a score of five is very important.
Free trade with the EU, the rights of citizens in the UK, the rights of UK citizens in the EU and visa-free travel to the EU were all deemed the most important with scores of between 4.5 and 4.3. Control of UK borders, primacy of UK courts, minimising the ‘Brexit bill’ and the primacy of Parliament were all deemed least important with scores of between 3.2 and 3.4.
That marketers and creatives would be strongly supportive of a close relationship with the EU is not that surprising given that, according to the survey, 81% of them voted to remain in the EU, well ahead of the 48% that voted that way among the general public.
However, there is evidence of a deeper divide between those who voted remain and leave than among the wider UK population.
For example, the general population suggest they want closer ties with the EU post-Brexit than than respondents working in marketing and creative roles. Marketing and creative leavers are staunch supporters, with trade deals with non-EU countries, primacy of Parliament and primacy of UK courts all more important issues for them than for leavers among the general population.
On the remain side, 87% of marketing and creative remainers believe the UK should stay in the single market, compared to 65% of the general population, while 65% support a transition period, compared to 55% among the UK as a whole.
The marketing and creative industry is also keen to see the results overturned. Some 63% of respondents agree there “should be a second referendum”, compared to just 27% who disagree. And just 33% think “we just need to get on with Brexit”, with 53% disagreeing with that statement. However, the vast majority are resigned to Brexit happening despite this, with just 19% agreeing with the statement “I don’t think Brexit will happen”.
Part of the reason for wanting to reverse the result lies in the fact that the marketing and creative industries are already seeing a negative impact from Brexit. A net balance of 35% say Brexit has “already had a strong negative impact” on their job, while a net balance of 48% say the same about their company.
Respondents also see a no deal as catastrophic, with a net balance of 59% saying that would have a negative impact on their company and a net balance of 50% saying it would have a negative impact on their job.
Even if the government gets the deal it wants, a net balance of 15% still believe the impact would be negative on both their companies and their jobs.
The survey was carried out for Centaur by 2,000 readers of Marketing Week, Design Week and Creative Review in the period 20 November to 1 December 2017. It should be noted that was before the agreement between the UK government and the EU to move on to trade talks. Centaur also carried out the same survey with a nationally representative sample of the UK population for comparison.