IT contractors get the blues over Brexit

Brexit is taking the shine off the UK’s technology crown and not just for hirers -- as the staffing sector warned -- but for IT workers too, such as contractors and aspiring contractors.

In fact, more than four in 10 techies say that Britain’s divorce from the EU makes it much less likely that they will set up their own IT venture. Only 3% said it made it more likely.

“This latter point in particular should make politicians sit up and listen,” said, which assessed 20,000 interviews and 100,000 applicants, including temporary IT candidates.

“Fewer tech start-ups will likely result in Britain’s innovation economy being less competitive globally, particularly if… [its IT] people are leaving for what they perceive as greener pastures.”

The website was referring to the 70% of IT workers who it found have already considered leaving Britain altogether -- to live and work overseas -- solely due to the Brexit outcome.

The underlying reasons given were varied. Uncertainty already (72%); uncertainty dogging the UK a year from now (77%) and less innovation from access to movement curbs (85%).

One bright spot, it seems, is that candidates’ prospects from Britain suffering as a tech hub (71% say this will happen) will be emboldened, as only three in 10 say finding IT work will become more difficult.

This belief of less competition over the next 12 months for domestic IT jobs -- at least in the eyes of those who assessed -- chimes with what employers are already doing.

In particular, the percentage of British firms sending job offers to techies outside the country fell from 25% at the beginning of 2016 to just 18% a year later -- a decrease of almost 30%.

The site’s analysis of candidates confirms this drop-off, even though Brexit has not begun: the number of foreign techies accepting first, initial offers has halved since the ‘Leave’ vote.

Taken together, the findings mean that the presence of foreign candidates in the UK's IT talent pool has significantly narrowed since Brexit, as has the number of firms making them offers.

However, the implied extra job security for Britain’s domestic IT professionals is not making even the majority of them want to stay put unconditionally.

Since the Brexit decision, only 30% have not "considered" relocating abroad (where, ironically, cities in Europe were the favoured destination, in front of Australia and North America).

“Our sense is that many of the more worrisome findings…are a result of the current uncertainty characterising the political landscape,” said’s Mehul Patel.

“Job-seekers and employers are behaving cautiously until they know what the path forward looks like and can plan accordingly. As the UK looks to map out a more definitive plan to leave the EU and things like skilled worker visas come into sharper focus, it will give both sides a better understanding of the rules of engagement.”

Editor's Note: Related --

Contractors enriched by Brexit deal uncertainty

Where a Brexit will affect IT contractor recruitment

IT contractor demand score at 14-month high

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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