Research carried out by Tech City UK, the publicly funded organisation set up by David Cameron, has revealed the key concerns of those in the tech sector following the vote to leave the EU.
A total of 74% of the 1,205 tech professionals surveyed said they think Brexit is going to make the UK economy worse. Just 36% of respondents are getting on with ‘business as usual’ and nearly a third (31%) say they are likely to slow down hiring.
According to the survey, the biggest issue for companies is hiring and retaining non-UK staff – half of respondents (51%) say they think that it will be more difficult to attract and retain the very best talent. Related to that, 70% of employers surveyed want to hear a clear message on EU residents’ ability to live and work in the country and 79% want improvements to the visa system, so that the most talented people in the world will be able to live and work in the UK.
Responding to the findings, Martyn Ruks, technical director of MWR Infosecurity said: “Access to talent has been a key issue, even more so in the cyber security space, for a number of years. In fact, in November 2015, Cyber Security was added to the UK skills shortage register, allowing those from outside the EU or without an existing right to work in the UK to apply for working visas.”
The sector needs to play its part in solving the crisis alongside the government. “While the government alone cannot solve the problem, it can provide leadership and support for industries like our own. Government schemes are often not strong in understanding the business context within which companies like our own operate,” Ruks added.
“However, they have access to fantastic resources and can bring people together. If Theresa May’s new government can provide the support, vision and direction for the industry to align to, it will be successful. It also needs to help the industry understand that it is their collective responsibility to engage and they cannot leave it to the Government to do it on its own.”
Right attributes are out there
Ruks concluded by saying: “The wider cyber security industry incorrectly believes the issue is that there aren’t enough people with specific technical IT knowledge – but we passionately believe that these can mostly be taught to individuals who possess the right attributes. I argue that what is more important is the ability to hypothesise, test assumptions, demonstrate analytical thinking, solve problems and then apply all of this to real world challenges which, for me, are the key attributes the cyber security industry should be looking for and where the greatest need is.”
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