Could Brexit lead to UK talent shortage?
UK SMEs with an EU director have grown 33 per cent faster than the average UK SME over the last five years, says Opal Transfer, the leading European money transfer service.
Opal Transfer’s research has found that UK SMEs with at least one director from an EU member country saw their turnover rise by 20 per cent between 2011 and 2016. This means they performed considerably better than UK-based SMEs generally – which saw their turnover grow by 15 per cent in that time.
The research was based on an analysis of 14,768 SME companies that submitted their accounts to Companies House in 2011 and 2016 and where the nationality of directors could be identified.
The figures highlight the quality of business talent and insight the UK has traditionally succeeded in attracting from the EU.
The main attributes EU expatriates tend to contribute to the UK-based SMEs they work for include:
- A high level of motivation to succeed;
- The ability to challenge the status quo and offer alternative ideas and points of view – due to their different business experience, culture and education
The figures, however, also emphasise just how much SMEs in the UK stand to lose should Brexit negotiations mean it no longer makes sense for EU nationals to live and work in the UK.
Gita Petkevica, Director of Opal Transfer, says: “EU talent contributes a huge amount to the UK economy – and this contribution is something that should be both cherished and protected.”
“The value EU nationals bring to UK businesses ranges from their extremely high drive for success to their ability to see things from an alternative point of view. This is absolutely essential to business growth.”
“These EU nationals also enormously benefit from working in the UK.”
“Our research shows just how much UK businesses risk losing out on if the UK’s departure from the EU makes it difficult for EU nationals to continue to live and work here.”
“It would be a tragedy, in particular, for SMEs – where EU nationals clearly make a huge difference.”
Opal Transfer says that it is becoming increasingly accepted that diversity within the senior management of businesses is highly desirable – and plays a key role in encouraging innovation and driving success. Whilst there is currently a sustained focus being placed on gender diversity at board level, other forms of diversity are also valuable such as age diversity, cultural diversity, or educational diversity.
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