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February 20, 2017updated 22 Feb 2017 4:49pm

Brexit immigration restrictions to put a choke hold on UK tech growth

The UK is not producing enough home-grown tech talent.

By Tom Ball

A report by job search marketplace Hired has revealed that salaries in the UK tech industry are lagging behind those in the more mature American market, with the UK on the brink of falling much further behind due to Brexit.

The Hired report found that 27% of the UK tech industry is comprised of foreign workers, a fact which raises a red flag as Brexit plans are said to include tighter immigration rules. Dr. Jessica Kirkpatrick, a data scientist at Hired, issued a stark warning to CBR, saying:

“Many industries, the tech industry included, rely on top talent being able to move freely across borders.

“The UK is not growing enough of its own talent to support the demand for tech jobs”.

The supply and demand issue seen in UK tech is a problem which emerged even before Brexit

“The UK has seen flat or declining engineering graduates over the last couple of decades”, said Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired. Stating that there are not enough people gaining degrees in software engineering and computer science, Mr. Patel said that the UK has ‘one of the fastest growing tech industries’, but it would be very difficult to sustain this progress without the crucial supply of foreign talent.

Considering the impact of Brexit, Mr. Patel said that ‘if there is not enough of that talent, you are going to see a lot of companies not succeed’, as it is a resource that outweighs capital.

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However, as somewhat as a silver lining, the Hired CEO did say that the ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit could in the shorter term ‘help UK citizen engineers’, as their skills would suddenly become vital, and that this ‘could start rectifying the low salary situation in the UK tech industry’.

Tech industry

The lack of IT professionals is a problem that has been holding back the UK tech industry for a number of years, and recent efforts have been made to remedy the problem and boost the figures of UK tech workers.

An example of a plan to improve the numbers of UK IT professionals is the recent announcement of the news that the government intends to deliver a ‘cyber curriculum’, which is intended to involve the training of 5,700 teenagers by 2021. £20 million has been set aside to cover the delivery of this initiative.

READ NOW: UK government to deliver ‘cyber curriculum’ to tackle cyber security skills gap

In addition to government efforts, Microsoft has also made plans which have assuaged the fears of Brexit with the recent announcement of a comprehensive national skills programme. This initiative has the ambitious target of training as many as 500,000 people in the UK to be cloud technology experts.

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