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The Brexit tech skills shortage - just how bad is it?

A report from Tech City UK has suggested that the Brexit tech skill shortage companies have feared might not be quite as disastrous as anticipated. A LinkedIn breakdown of foreign tech workers relocating to the UK in 2016 revealed that more of them came from India, Australia and the USA than from Europe. Of those coming from EU countries, France and Spain provided 6% each, Italy 5%, Ireland 5% and Germany 3%.

While the current uncertainty over Brexit may have reduced immigration levels from EU countries, it’s clear that there are other options for sourcing tech talent. So perhaps the UK isn’t as reliant on EU skilled tech staff as other reports have indicated? Another agency had forecast a shortage of 800,000 workers. What we do know is that companies reliant on workers from outside the UK should be prepared to deal with the shortage they’re likely beginning to face already.

While we’d anticipate the government making special visa arrangements for skills which have a UK shortage, the current uncertainty is already said to be putting EU workers off choosing the UK. This may improve, but with it being less straightforward for any dependents to also find employment after Brexit, it may still be more difficult to attract workers from the EU. The government have recently increased the number of special visas available for non-EU workers so in the meantime employers could investigate this and source talent from countries like India, Australia and the USA.

Looking ahead, companies could futureproof their resources by considering bringing in more entry-level talent like graduates. Entry level recruitment is a cost effective solution; given proper training, hiring less experienced staff gives the opportunity to mold talent to your company culture and technologies.

Let’s not forget that there are also some technical roles which are more suited to native English speakers, such as customer support and technical sales. While US and Australian candidates could fit the bill, it would make sense to source existing talent from within the UK.

Many companies can now fund the training of new staff using apprenticeship schemes. There have been huge structural changes to apprenticeships over the last year or so, with dozens of new programmes being added. The range of business-appropriate skills now available and open to learners of all ages and levels of qualification means companies can now upskill anyone they recruit, with 90% funding from the government.

Apprenticeship courses have also been redesigned to require far less time ‘off the job’ and are now available through private training providers rather than formal education settings. They’ve been structured in a far more flexible way which means they can also be tailored to company and individual learner requirements.

Given the cost of bringing more experienced talent from outside Europe, both in salary and relocation expenses, it makes real financial sense to plan ahead and train UK talent. Apprenticeships are a handy tool to make this a cost effective investment in the future of your business.

If your requirements include technical sales professionals, Pareto Law are one of the approved providers of the IT Technical Sales Apprenticeship, a Level 3 qualification equivalent to two A-levels. As the UK’s leading graduate sales recruitment and training company, we can also source the candidates for you. 

The Brexit tech skills shortage - just how bad is it?

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