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Over half of tech entrepreneurs think Brexit is the biggest threat to the tech sector in London, with a many missing out on top international talent as a direct result of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Research of 5,400 tech founders, carried out by Tech London Advocates (TLA), revealed that 55% said Brexit and how it affects the search for talent is the biggest threat to startups and scale-up companies in London. A third said they have experienced talks with potential international hires falling through as a direct result of Brexit.
TLA is a private sector network of over 5,400 expert individuals from the tech sector and beyond.
Retaining existing talent could also be a major challenge for tech forms. In June 2017, a report from Deloitte, revealed 47% of highly skilled workers from the EU who are currently working in the UK are considering leaving in the next five years – and 15% are planning to leave in the next 12 months.
About 60% of respondents to the TLA survey said the reputation of London’s tech sector has already been damaged. This could become a problen as there are also hubs across Europe that are eager to attract startups and staff that might be put off the UK post-Brexit.
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates, said entrepreneurs are defined by their ability to turn challenges into opportunities.
“Slowing down access to European talent will make growing a tech company harder, but London is focused on strengthening its relationship with tech hubs across Europe and around the world that are already fuelling our investment pipeline.”
Read more about Brexit and the UK IT industry
- Economic uncertainty and the fear of losing access to a huge customer base and a talented pool of professionals are among the fears for businesses as Brexit unfolds.
- London mayor Sadiq Khan opens London Tech Week and says Brexit will not hold back the city’s growing tech sector.
- Uncertainty caused by the UK leaving the EU has caused a pause in activity for half of CIOs, while the others are accelerating their digital transformation.
Speaking in east London at the launch of this year’s London Tech Week in June, London mayor Sadiq Khan said the city will remain open to talent from around the world despite the threats posed by Brexit to the city’s tech sector.
Central government is also determined to support London’s tech industry in its search for talent. Writing in Computer Weekly, home secretary Amber Rudd said “the government wants to ensure the most highly talented technology and digital experts from overseas can work in the UK”.
“We currently have a visa which allows 1,000 people with exceptional talent and the most potential to come to the UK. I am doubling that number – 2,000 visas will be available to highly skilled people who not only enhance our economy, but also our culture and, in my opinion, are fundamental to the success and growth of the UK,” wrote Rudd.