One of the biggest questions I’m being asked right now is how Brexit will affect people (or more specifically Kiwis) wanting IT work in London.
There’s been lots of commentary over the past couple of months but the truth is that nobody knows for sure.
Brexit is bringing to the surface two key issues for the UK IT industry: a focus on immigration and a shortage of skills. On the one hand Brexiters are wanting to limit the number of foreigners, “UK jobs for UK citizens”, however on the other hand IT sector experts have been talking about London as the new Silicon Valley, with record levels of start-ups likely to create ever increasing demands for skilled workers.
Any restriction on the free movement of labour from Europe is likely to exacerbate existing skills shortages, conceivably opening the door to more skilled New Zealanders seeking to further their career in the UK. We are already seeing the UK Government signal their intention to keep the Visa door open to skilled IT workers. This week the Chancellor Phillip Hammond speaking at the Tory party conference talked of the need to “cement” Britain’s “role as a leader in tech innovation,” by continuing to make visas IT sector-friendly. In fact, Mr Hammond said he wanted to “maintain” Britain’s “ability to attract the brightest and best to work here in our high-tech industries”
With Theresa May recently stating that Article 50 will be triggered by April 2017 it is likely there is going to be short term uncertainty. How will this affect the London IT job market? What we saw with the GFC was an increase in the ratio of IT contracts over permanent roles as more employers preferred shorter term yet more flexible control over their workforce. With Brexit due to play out over the next 2.5 years it’s likely we will see something similar.
Personally I believe Brexit is a distraction and those that want to come can still find well paid jobs if they look in the right places. Of course Brexit might make Kiwis think twice, however people with the right skills will always be in demand in London. Add to that Kiwis have always been well regarded in the UK. Cultural similarities mean they fit easily into professional teams and their work ethic always resonates well with the locals.
Back to the present, October is a key month for IT Contracting as it marks the beginning of the second half of the tax year. Business budgets are renewed as companies try to make progress on IT projects before the Christmas season. Our offices have continued to be busy with a number of job seekers picking up new contracts in the past fortnight. Anyone wishing to pick up IT work before Christmas has a 6-week window to make it happen.
For the latest update on your area of expertise feel free to drop me a line.