Leaving the EU could put at risk access to top talent from across the region which accounts for 40 per cent of professional migration to the UK, according to snapshot data collected by the network, prompting it to call on the government to ensure access to talent is a key priority of negotiations.
‘‘If businesses are depending on talent from overseas to be competitive, it is time for them to let the government know, so that they negotiate a settlement that can support Britain's success. In turn, we’re calling on Government to ensure that maintaining access to talent is one of the key priorities when negotiations begin," said UK country manager Josh Graff.
Highly qualified EU nationals - nearly two thirds of which have a masters or doctorate level education - are 50 per cent more likely than their UK counterparts to be working in professional services. In technology it stands at 30 per cent and in finance and insurance, 20 per cent.
Workers from Europe are collectively the biggest group of "white-collar" migrants to the UK, ahead of the US, accounting for just under a fifth, and Asia, accounting for 14 per cent.
‘‘There has already been a lot of debate about the impact of Brexit on blue-collar workers, but British businesses also face a very real white-collar skills gap that they need to start thinking about. Our findings are clear: UK companies need to prepare themselves for a more difficult talent market, and may want to start looking at how they can develop more talent at home, or cast the net further. The US and Australia already account for over a fifth of professional migration to the UK, so they are a good place to start," said Graff.
London mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing for a specialist visa system for London, to ensure businesses in the capital - where the majority of professional services, finance and technology jobs are based - retain their access to talent from Europe.