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UK Political Implications on Tech Evolution

Francesca Comsa

Are the UK political implications exerting influence on your business and its tech evolution?

London ranks as the second most connected place for technology in the world, after Silicon Valley. According to Tech Nation 2018 Report, the digital tech sector is growing continuously across the UK, helping founders to succeed, to increase digital skills, to share learning and knowledge between industries, and to help present the UK tech sector on the world stage (p.5 of the Tech Nation 2018 Report). Technology companies are growing fast and creating the high-skilled, high-paying jobs of the future.

So, does the elephant in the room affect technology evolution? 

For now, tech companies are refusing to be distracted by the political implications, taking a ‘whatever happens, happens’ attitude and focusing their growth plans on the areas they can influence. While concerns remain around areas such as hiring European talent, the fact is that UK tech companies attracted more investment last year than their counterparts in Germany and France combined.

In general, tech communities across the UK are ‘highly optimistic’ about the growth prospects for digital tech companies in their local area, both in terms of scale and number of businesses. In this case, the new relationship between the UK and the EU will undoubtedly force the entire sector to be even more adaptive, innovative and ambitious.

UK Political Implications on Tech Evolution

Findings on technology resourcing implications

At the moment the UK maintains its position as a magnet for talent. According to data extracted from LinkedIn, the UK attracted 21.4 % of international migrants moving into the European tech scene throughout the year in 2018, and 14.9 % of those moving within Europe.

But while the UK keeps a claim on the top spot, for now, its political changes have a significant impact on employment and workforce trends, as well as market perspectives.

Despite the concerns, the proportion of employers looking to increase staff versus those looking to reduce staff has recovered strongly (p.2). The politic uncertainty usually causes employers to be more circumspect with their hiring decisions, but employers are still demonstrating high recruitment intentions.

Unfortunately, even though the demand exists, recent data shows that 44% of employers experienced greater difficulty in recruitment during 2018, while another 34% faced a similar challenge in retaining staff (p.3). In Autumn 2018, 70% of employers with vacancies said that at least some of those were proving hard to fill, compared to 51% in Spring 2017 (p.4).

Ever since the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum of June 2016, most companies saw an increased cautiousness in approaching prospective candidates. They have anticipated the challenges in recruiting senior and skilled/technical employees in the future.
And, indeed, the number of applicants has fallen significantly for all senior and skilled levels from 2017 to 2018 (p.10). Adding to this the strong labour demand and low unemployment, the result can’t be other than a huge pressure on recruitment.

Given the situation, the political implications have not affected the interest in employing EU migrant workers, due to the fact that the supply of skills is continuously shrinking (p.17). At the beginning of 2018, two-thirds of organisations said they would continue to hire EU nationals.
On the planning and development level, the statistics from 2018 show that 55% of employers consider that leaving the EU has no impact on their interest in investing in training and skill development, while 20% of them consider that it had caused them to reduce it. More than that, it showed that organisations that employ EU nationals are significantly more likely to be investing in digital training and development than employers who don’t recruit EU nationals.

The information technology sector is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy, placing the UK on the map as the best place in the world to start or grow a digital tech business.
We, at Xoomworks Technology, believe that because of the political implications, employers should remain alert to potential changes and focus on the workforce planning and development, which should become a priority and acknowledge the fact that the fight for tech talent heats up.

PS: To view this blog post in its slick entirety, click here.

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