Author: Hannah Williams
UK tech startups, which rely on access to talent from foreign countries, are increasingly being forced to consider relocation as immigration to Britain drops post-Brexit.
This is according to data from LinkedIn which found that the UK’s share is in decline as it faces tougher competition against other EU countries such as Germany, which has begun closing the gap for tech talent.
Despite its leading position in the European startup scene, the UK is beginning to fall short of tech talent as its access gets tougher mainly due to the impact of Brexit, which now makes the country a less attractive place to relocate professionals.
The UK lost more overseas talent than it gained in February 2018, with the highest decline in London.
A more recent report from LinkedIn found that there has been a decline in London’s access to talent as more people relocate to EU27 countries since the Brexit referendum – something replicated across the whole of the UK.
Read next: Will the tech sector stand up for immigrants after Brexit?
However, some startups are going even further, relocating to US regions such as Silicon Valley due to what they have to offer: funding – something the UK may be falling behind on.
Ways to keep startups in the UK
Speaking at the Digital Shadows event in London, Mark Walker, tech and urban specialist at the Mayor’s international business programme said: “I think that it’s a very important thing to see that our government is aware of its role in this.
“It very much is kind of like a fire starter type of approach whereby, we do something to get it going. You get the embers burning and you blow on them just to get them going a bit and then you step back and let the industry come in and take over from that point.”
In 2017, the UK was recognized as the top destination for Silicon Valley investors, with over 90 percent of the total venture capital raised by UK tech firms, according to research from London and Partners.
Alastair Paterson, co-founder of Digital Shadows said: “If you look at the US and why it’s successful, there are a lot of reasons but they’ve got a talent pool of over 300 million people to draw on, and one of our advantages that we’ve got over here if of course, we’ve had 500 million in the EU to draw on that could just come and work here.
“So when we go back to 60 million post-Brexit, I think the government is in thinking about how we maintain access to that highly skilled community when there’s a global talent shortage in data science, cyber-security and top engineering roles.”
Traditionally, the UK has been popular when attracting overseas professionals to work in the industry so to see a decline in what has had a wide reach for a long period raises questions for many.