Brexit ‘barely dimming Britain as an IT beacon’

Warnings that the UK’s status as an IT talent beacon will diminish due to Brexit were shrugged off yesterday as premature.

In an update via its economist, said Britain’s tech sector was “barely dented” by its looming EU exit, as 10% of the site’s IT job-hunters were applying from abroad.

The site’s Pawel Adrian also said that based on the 1 in 10 hit rate from overseas interest its roster of UK IT jobs, Britain’s tech market was ‘still attracting interest from migrants.’

The statement will reassure some employers because since 2017’s ‘leave’ vote, applications for UK tech jobs by EU nationals have abated by 28%, another online jobs giant has said.

'Less interest'

Although that alert dates back to May 2017, London IT agency First Point Group told ContractorUK in September 2018 of “less interest from applications…in EU countries for UK roles.”

Suggesting yesterday that it has seen similar, Bowers Partnership, which also places IT contractors, points out that ‘applications’ are one thing, ‘confirmed placements’ quite another.

“One in ten of the applications for UK jobs [may well] come from outside of the UK, [but] the number of roles actually filled by these non–UK work-seekers would be more interesting [stats] to peruse,” the firm said. 

'Pay rises'

These numbers were not disclosed, yet’s Mr Adrian did imply UK placements of EU workers may fall -- or become more expensive-- if the £30k salary threshold for non-EU applicants gets extended.

“Several of the roles most popular [on our site] among EU citizens pay less than the £30,000 threshold…[so] this raises the prospect of skilled Europeans eschewing a post-Brexit UK, in favour of EU economies where they can work more easily”.

He added: “This may [also] result in significant pay rises in these sectors [mid-skilled, or specialist yet entry-level] to enable European workers to meet any future salary threshold and remain eligible for a working visa.”


The prospect of additional wages for EU talent, just to keep it incoming, may further irritate Britons, who are already revaluating whether they want to stay with their engagers.

In fact, Morgan McKinley yesterday said a “reticence” among employers to discuss their Brexit-related staffing plans may be behind the 26% spike in ‘in-work’ candidates who want to ‘jump ship.’

“Businesses are holding their cards close to their chests, prepared to hold off…until the very last minute, and that’s worrying their staff”, said the agency’s managing director Hakan Enver.

“Professionals who want to stay in London, but are concerned about their roles being transferred overseas, are leveraging the shrinking window of time to try and secure a job locally.”


Despite the appetite of some to move, the agency reported a 33% annual slump in opportunities (falling to 7% on a monthly basis,) similar to the tailing off in growth in new opportunities that IT contractors witnessed in October.

However, Mr Enver said October-November was traditionally the time of year for end-users -- especially financial institutions -- to “slow down their hiring until after the new year”.

And such seasonal factors are more likely to impact the prospects of skilled IT contractors looking for work than atypical factors like Brexit, according to Bowers Partnership’s co-founder Natalie Bowers.

“In our opinion, UK-based contractors have nothing to fear from non-UK professionals anyway, coming to the UK post-Brexit,” she said. “We have a longstanding tradition of supplementing our labour needs with workers from overseas, and the market will find its own natural balance post the UK’s departure.”

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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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