Tech developer numbers are on the rise in London despite Brexit, but tech and business leaders remain concerned

 
Lynsey Barber
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Access to the right tech talent has been a concern for business after Brexit (Source: Getty)

It looks like London continues to attract tech experts despite Brexit looming, new figures suggest, with the number rising since the vote to leave Europe.

The capital remains home to more tech developers than any other city outside the US, new data from Stack Overflow shows, with worker numbers up 11 per cent year-on-year in the 12 months to June.

This rate of growth was on par with Tokyo, Moscow and Singapore and slightly ahead of France, one of European cities emerging as a contender to London's status as a leading tech hub, with 418,000 developers working in the capital. That was behind only Silicon Valley and New York.

Read more: Sir Martin Sorrell: Technology will destroy jobs

It comes amid concerns that Brexit uncertainty will put talent off coming to the UK and the government's stance on capping immigration numbers. Separate research has indicated that workers across the tech sector, not just developers, have been put off taking jobs in the UK since the vote.

While the fresh data doesn't indicate where the developers are coming from, it indicates London continues to keep pace with rivals in terms of attracting the workers who are crucial for tech startups.

Several high profile people in the tech business this week voiced concerns that Brexit may be bad for the tech sector at events for London Tech Week held across the capital.

Sir Martin Sorrell, the boss of the world's largest advertising holding group WPP, laid into politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.

"At a time when this country needs entrepreneurial talent, the sort of things that were proposed in both manifestos, whether Conservative or Labour, are things that would stifle ingenuity and entrepreneurialism." he said.

And talent is "what keeps me up at night" one of the UK's most prominent tech leaders has said, speaking about the affect of Brexit on UK tech. Sherry Coutu, the serial entrepreneur, investor and head of the scale-up institute, told the audience of her concerns at The Europas tech conference.

Read more: Google's opening a huge new hub for training the UK in digital skills

But Tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon have confirmed their commitment to the UK since the referendum last June.

“London is a great place to innovate and is a melting pot of highly skilled talent, which is why we have a long-term commitment to the capital," said Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr. "Our new Shoreditch head office will allow us to continually innovate on behalf of our customers, enable small businesses to export around the world, and attract the best and brightest talent from the tech industry.”

Jeffrey Szczepanski, chief operating officer at Stack Overflow, the developer platform behind the research, said: “Whether a seed-funded startup, or global corporation: every business needs developers - the people writing the code that powers innovation and growth. That’s why it’s so exciting to see that London’s tech talent pool grew by 11 per cent in the past year alone.”

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