For anyone with their finger on the pulse of political news, Brexit might seem like the most debated topic to come out of the country since the war in Iraq. If you can sift through all the biased, one-sided articles, you will find much of the tech industry quivering in its boots, like a man staring into a lion’s eyes, not knowing whether it will charge with devastating consequences, or retreat, leaving him to carry on with his day. Some big decisions need to be made in a post-EU future, and it’s apparent that many organisations are struggling to see where they will fit into the new regime.
One of the biggest concerns seems to be surrounding foreign talent, which is not at all surprising since London stands as Europe’s top technology hub. Anyone who has ever been to the capital can attest to its cultural diversity and the importance of diversity within the tech sector.
I don’t believe we’ll see the impact of Brexit immediately, as there isn’t a natural replacement for London in mainland Europe, but it’s believed that over the next 10 years, as companies invest and develop elsewhere, we will begin to see a decline in the tech sector. On the flip side, because of pressure from uncontrolled migration from EU countries, some believe that the UK’s exit from the EU could allow for easier access to talent from other parts of the world.
In addition to observing the changes with current infrastructure, it’s also worth looking at how Brexit will affect new business. As tech companies begin to develop in mainland Europe, in places such as Berlin or Stockholm, we could see new business and investment decrease in London, in favour of a more “secure” market. The knock-on effect of this could be, that over time, as these areas become more diverse, talent from the capital might want to seek better opportunity, which would obviously be a poor outcome for our economy.
I’m no economist, but if the polls are to be believed, where 87% of the tech sector believe remaining in the EU is in the best interests of the industry, it’s going to be an interesting journey as we head into the unknown.