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London 'not immune from tech brain drain'

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More than half of mid-size technology businesses are concerned about losing skilled employees and London-based companies may not be immune to the risk of ‘brain drain’, it has been claimed.

Some 57 per cent of mid-size technology companies in the UK worry they could lose key staff, while 70 per cent of businesses with an annual turnover of £25m to £100m fear they are at risk, according to research.

Technology firms in London may find their employees are more willing to consider working abroad than ever before, said Geoff White, a senior market underwriter at Zurich, the company which commissioned the research.

White said: “People are more transient in London and it makes it easier to go abroad, they are excited by the prospect.

“They have less fear about living abroad. In the past, they would just be looking at English speaking countries like the US and Australia, but now they’re willing to try elsewhere.”

“The research shows that employers in the technology industry are suffering from brain drain and fear this even more for the future, losing skilled employees to overseas competitors, which provide a richer, more challenging environment for them to work in”

-Geoff White, a senior market underwriter at Zurich

He continued: “With more people taking gap years, they are not as daunted by the prospect of moving abroad because they have that experience. It’s opening things up.”

White said while London is an exciting place to live, skilled workers in the technology sector may take into account the strength of the pound and the cost of living before considering a move abroad.

“The research shows that employers in the technology industry are suffering from brain drain and fear this even more for the future, losing skilled employees to overseas competitors, which provide a richer, more challenging environment for them to work in,” he said.

Technology firms in the UK are keen to keep their staff, according to the report, with 41 per cent naming employee retention as their top priority.

The report also found technology companies were concerned about keeping up with technological advances. Some 39 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they felt highly exposed to technology evolution risk, while 46 per cent of smaller companies described this as a real threat to their business.

However, White said while companies remained upbeat, they would like to see their concerns addressed.

He said: “While it’s encouraging that technology companies tell us they feel optimistic about the future, they clearly have some real concerns, particularly, recruiting and retaining skilled employees.

“It’s essential that both businesses and government work together to overcome these issues in order to ensure British technology companies are able to survive and grow in this fast moving global technology market.”




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