Techxit: is the UK facing an exodus of tech workers?

Brexit... the most used phrased in Britian? What about Techxit – will the UK face an exodus of tech workers?

London ranks as the most attractive city for tech workers worldwide, but three quarters (75%) of Britain’s tech workforce are prepared to leave UK for work – Techxit.

The sinking ship?

Technology-based or digital professions are in-demand, but due to the transferable nature of tech skills, these individuals are the most prepared to relocate, compared to only 61% of non-tech workers who would be willing to make the move overseas.

UK tech talent’s inclination to move abroad for work is similar to that of digital experts based elsewhere, with two-thirds of the global tech workforce admitting they’re prepared to move.

While London may be the tech industry’s favoured city, the UK on the whole is less attractive than its capital and must continue to compete with other markets in order to recruit and retain the digital experts who are crucial to the country’s economic development.

These are the conclusions from one of the largest ever global studies of tech and digital workers, surveying 27,000 experts by management consultancy, Boston Consulting Group and leading UK job board Totaljobs as part of global talent hub The Network.

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UK employers — act now

The study calls for the UK government and companies to work harder to attract and retain top digital talent and upskill their current workforce.

Nick South, partner and managing director at BCG said: “The digital workforce is highly skilled, highly mobile and in high demand. 75% of digital workers in the UK are willing to move abroad for work, which is more than other UK workers. Whilst it is good news that London remains the most attractive city in the world for tech workers globally, UK companies – and the country as a whole – have to think very smartly about how we attract and retain the best UK and global digital talent – or they will vote with their feet.”

What is the UK digital workforce looking for?

According to the research, the most important is a healthy work-life balance, followed by good relationships with their peers and with their managers – workers are more concerned with wellness and human interaction while at work over financial compensation, which was ranked less important.

Perhaps surprisingly, learning and development ranked very low for UK tech workers, in noticeable comparison to their colleagues across the world, who ranked it highly. The results show that British digital talent place more value in the day-to-day operations of their work, favouring more interesting and dynamic roles above learning and training.

Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, digital experts across the world were shown to favour working in large companies with a wider network of opportunities rather than smaller start-ups.

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Alexandra Sydney, group marketing director at Totaljobs said: “This research has identified that tech workers across the world, particularly those in the UK, know what they’re looking for and aren’t afraid to move countries to find it. The UK technology sector is growing 2.5x faster than the overall economy and is worth nearly £184 billion of the UK’s GDP. This means that there’s an onus on employers to increase employee attraction and retention to ensure the UK has enough tech talent to cope with demand.

“Any company keen to attract tech talent in the UK should look to create a workplace that encourages a positive and productive outlook; key demands for the UK workforce. By fostering a good work-life balance, alongside an open, friendly culture, employers can ensure that they retain skilled digital workers.”

Techxit – not a UK only issue

Similarly to the UK, more than three-quarters of the tech workforce in places such as India and Brazil would relocate for work. By contrast, only 55% of non-tech workers globally be likely to move. Whilst willingness to move is highest for digital experts in developing economies, fewer than one in four (38%) of the tech workforce in China would consider such a move.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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