It seems fitting that as a Clinton bids for the White House in America, post-Brexit Britain and Europe (and those with interests therein) are shouting at their opposite numbers ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.
Indeed, I never thought my degree in Politics and International Relations would be so directly relevant to my career in IT recruitment, and yet here we are.
Much as the seismic shift in the economic environment can never be underestimated, it’s important to turn attention now to the stabilisation process since it is so difficult to speculate on what the technology sector will truly look like post-Brexit until the exit process and wider post-exit economic environment becomes clear. Albert Edwards of Société Générale has opposed the current post-Brexit pessimism by drawing attention to the recovery process after Britain crashed out of the ERM in 1992, a similar view taken by Simon Derrick in the FT this morning.
Whilst the ERM exit concerned only Economic union and not Political union (and had far fewer years of integration efforts to undo), the need to understand and analyse the impact of the wider economy on any given industry remains just as critical. In the case of IT recruitment in this country there is already a well-known Digital skills shortage and the existing question of ‘Where are firms to source their workers from?’
Indeed, my response to the frightening anti-immigrant rhetoric in the UK right now has been to ask why anybody would see it as preferable that a role utilising specialised skills should go unfilled, when somebody from overseas could take it and become a payer of top-rate income tax? Some Brexiteers may ask a similar question and point out the EU is a trade bloc keeping out said skilled workers from outside the Union, although I am yet to read much elaboration on the specifics of how ‘Australian points-based immigration’ would be formulated and applied.
Clare McDonald’s excellent article for Computer Weekly explores the potential impact on the UK IT sector of professionals moving to mainland Europe and the importance of a post-Brexit government setting appropriate immigration rules for the sector, whilst also highlighting optimism from KMPG’s Tudor Aw. Professionals exiting the UK for the then-27 member state EU will depend on settlement rules in these countries and the wider Economic performance of the remaining trading bloc.
Relocating to the Eurozone given the existing challenges facing it may not prove as attractive as is being speculated, especially if the UK proves to be only the first State to leave the EU which is possible given the continental-rise of Euroscepticism.
If small UK firms do indeed wind themselves up and start again inside the EU this could be critically important to the Oracle sphere, with a cash-rich company committed to growth through acquisition now finding their dollars make it easier for them to ‘Buy British’…
The UK tech sector is urging the government to negotiate appropriate rules around visas to ensure those from the EU are still free to take up technology roles in the UK, and experts are advising businesses to make sure its current workers feel welcome. ... But Tudor Aw, head of technology sector at KPMG UK, claimed everything that makes the UK tech sector great, including creativity and great universities that feed into the tech talent pipeline, would remain in place post-Brexit. “Technology is a sector that will only increase in importance and works without borders,” said Aw. “I therefore continue to view the UK tech sector as one that will not only withstand the immediate challenges of the referendum result, but one that will continue to grow and thrive.”