As tremors of the monumental Brexit split approaches, British companies have seen a 6% drop in foreign tech hires compared with two years ago. A study from Hired found just 34% of non-UK workers accepted tech job offers in the UK in Q3 this year, compared with 40% in Q1 2016 before the Brexit vote.
One reason may be that better opportunities could be found elsewhere; tech salaries in London are around a third lower than equivalent jobs in the States. Taking into account the cost of living, the average software engineer earns £81,000 each year in New York and £86,000 in San Francisco. In Britain’s capital, developers can expect around £54,000 p/a, which is 33% less than in New York and 37% less than in San Francisco. That’s not to say there is no poaching from our Transatlantic neighbours — in fact, San Francisco-based candidates receive the highest number of offers out of anywhere else in the US from London companies.
However, the priorities of tech-competent workers may surprise business leaders, given that 45% of job-seekers ranked company culture above salary. Financial incentives outweighed workplace ethos for just 42% of respondents. By comparison, just 16% ranked career development their main priority.
Opportunities abroad haven’t escaped the notice of UK tech workers, with half considering a job beyond Britain’s shores. With Brexit on the horizon, nearly three-quarters (70%) of those mulling over moving would give in to the siren call of a European city. A further one in ten have their sights set on North America.
The apparent drop in outsourced talent has put British software engineers in more demand than ever, with 70% of UK tech workers saying recruiters have contacted them more since the Brexit vote. Nearly 80% of tech workers on the Hired platform – spanning the UK, US and Canada – are approached by recruiters once a week. Almost all (95%) are approached at least once a month.
Great talent is still trickling through from the continent, with 28% of UK placements from other parts of Europe or the US. European candidates were drawn primarily from Sweden (16%), Spain (14%) and France (13%).
The new findings support contemporary research from Tech London Advocates which found 55% of tech company founders felt the biggest threat to the sector is Brexit’s impact on access to talent.