The UK’s rising demand for tech talent is under threat from Brexit

Gordon Smith
The Silicon Roundabout In Old Street
Source: Getty

There is no denying that Britain is currently suffering productivity challenges and all eyes are on the UK’s tech sector to shine a light on the countries future.

It is currently growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, with digital jobs being created at double the speed as non-digital ones.

The government clearly recognises the significance of this. Last month it announced its commitment to invest directly into the tech sector and double the number of visas available to exceptional talent from around the world.

But unfortunately, a smoother visa process might not be enough to attract the bright minds needed to sustain our tech sector’s growth.

At Hired, we’ve been tracking the impact of Brexit on overseas recruitment – and the results don’t paint a pretty picture.

Despite an almost insatiable demand for tech talent – almost 80% of tech workers on our platform are approached by recruiters on a weekly basis – the offers being made by firms looking to hire are not landing.

In the third quarter of 2017, just 34 per cent of foreign tech workers accepted job offers from UK firms (down from 40 per cent in Q1 2016, before the results of the EU referendum).

More than that, our research found that half of the UK’s tech sector employees have considered leaving the country altogether in the wake of the shock result – 70 per cent of those would be looking to call other European cities home instead.

Ultimately, the government and private sector need to work harder to offer overseas workers a deal that appeals – the tech sector in the UK thrives on a global talent pool, and has plenty of opportunity to offer in turn.

But bumper salaries and easy visas, it seems, simply won’t be enough. More needs to be done to understand what can be done to attract the best talent – my suggestion? Go and actually ask those people what would make them happiest to make the move.

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