UK Impact

The EU referendum and IT jobs

Brexit was the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union – but what impact will it have on the UK as a European HQ for tech companies, on jobs in the IT sector, and on universities and cities like Edinburgh and Cambridge as tech incubators?

Can the UK continue as an HQ for tech companies post-Brexit?

Dietrich Benjes, of software company Varonis, says:

“The UK has been the biggest single market for tech in the EU, so many tech companies have their EU HQs here or at least a very strong presence. I think there is a very strong and compelling case to remain and further invest in the UK. It’s now down to the government to engage with business and communicate the strength of that case.”

And as Colin Tankard, Managing Director of tech company Digital Pathways, points out:

“The UK technology market has always been an early adopter of technology – much quicker than Germany and France who would come second. Also, the UK has more larger IT deployments than many of the European countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, so the UK tech market place is a key area for revenue for tech manufactures.”

The EU referendum and IT

Image: iStock

What does Brexit mean for IT jobs?

Brexit could be good news for contract IT workers. Dave Chaplin, CEO of Contractor Calculator, which advises IT contractors, declares:

“Contractors are ready to make Brexit work.” He continues: “The UK is good at rolling up its sleeves and getting on with things. Contingent workers are one of the best examples of this – contractors hit the ground running, identify the challenge and just get on with solving it. During this uncertainty, firms will be turning to contractors and freelancers more and more as they will not want to commit to taking on full-time employees.”

Will places like Cambridge/Edinburgh continue as tech incubators?

Tech company Bromium has an R&D center in Cambridge. Simon Crosby, CTO, says there is “incredible technical talent” in the city and other tech hot spots in the UK.” He believes the new government must work to keep them here and to fund research at universities for the good of the country’s economy.

Professor Steve West Vice-Chancellor at University of the West of England, which has close to 1,000 computing students (plus other tech and digital students) says:

“We need to seize the opportunities in the global economy by demonstrating to current and potential investors that in the UK we have the skilled workforce for organisations to succeed.”

The EU referendum and IT

Image: iStock

He believes universities must partner with businesses to drive productivity and economic growth.

Ciaron Dunne, MD of Cambridge-based tech business Genie Ventures, admits that while these are uncertain times,

“Cambridge has the kind of fast-moving, entrepreneurial businesses which can keep the city’s momentum going in the right direction despite the macro-economic uncertainty. There are always winners and losers in these times, but I would back Cambridge to come out a winner.”

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