News: Tech City UK research shows that companies are showing a stiff upper lip.
Tech City UK has released the findings of its first post-Brexit survey of the UK tech sector, revealing concerns about the ability to find and retain talent and a strong desire to remain as part of the European Single Market.
Prior to the referendum it was clear that the majority of UK tech companies were strongly in the remain bracket, this hasn’t changed but many have now moved on to focus on what the future will bring.
One of the main concerns is the ability to hire and retain non-UK staff with 51% of respondents saying that they think it will be more difficult to attract and retain the very best talent.
A factor of this concern is the lack of information that businesses have on the rights of EU residents’ ability to live and work in the UK with 70% wanting to hear clearer messaging on the subject.
To improve the chances of continuing to hire and retain the best tech talent 79% have called for improvements to the visa system.
“As we’re continuing to invest for growth, it’s really important to us that any agreements reached with the EU mean that we’re still able to access the best possible talent from all across Europe,” said Aron Gelbard, co-founder and CEO, Bloom & Wild.
Just under a third (31%) of companies said that they would slow down on hiring new staff but only 22% expect to scale back their planned growth ambitions.
At the same time over half (51%) say they plan to raise capital outside the UK in the next year.
One of the main requests from the tech sector is that the Government negotiates a deal to remain part of the European Single Market. The vast majority (85%) of the 1,205 people surveyed by Tech City UK called for this. The majority of the companies are emerging start-ups with 10 or less employees, two-thirds of the respondents were British citizens.
On the whole the report suggests an air of optimism, or perhaps a display of the stiff upper lip that Brits are renowned for when things don’t go their way.
Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech said that there was cause for optimism as the tech sector rises to the challenge of Brexit.
Grech said: “If there’s one thing tech entrepreneurs are good at, it’s holding their nerve. The slings and arrows involved in starting and scaling up a digital business require a thick skin and the ability to hold on to a vision, come what may.
“It’s these qualities of resilience, as well as risk-taking, that Britain’s tech stars will be drawing on now as they face perhaps one of the bigger bumps in the road yet. And I’m confident that they’ll make it over the hump.”
Despite this positivity, there has been plenty of negativity to go along with it. Almost three-quarters said that the business environment would get worse in the weeks to come.
One UK start-up fintech that is struggling to put a positive spin on the Brexit vote is challenger bank Mondo.
Tom Blomfield, CEO, Mondo, told CBR: “It will damage capital investment into the country from abroad, it will damage our ability to passport across Europe and access 500 million customers, it will damage our ability to attract and retain the best talent across Europe, it’s really bad.”
Although the feeling from many in the tech sector is that the Brexit vote is bad for them, it doesn’t mean that they are giving up, the message seems to be that they will just have to knuckle down and work harder to be a success.
To read the full interview with the CEO of Mondo click here.