One of Europe’s leading venture capital firms, Balderton Capital, has today released a new study warning that the UK’s dominant position in Europe’s tech industry could be at risk if Brexit makes it harder to attract foreign employees. Balderton profiled almost 15,000 employees in over 1,000 venture-backed companies in Europe, working closely with a select group of start-ups.
According to Balderton’s analysis, hiring skilled staff is one of the biggest challenges facing tech companies across Europe. The study found that the UK is the most popular destination for the majority of developers outside of their home nations. London, where more than 40% of companies have at least one founder from overseas, is the most popular destination for job hunters looking to work abroad.
However, the attractiveness of the UK to this highly mobile workforce could decline rapidly should policies towards skilled workers change significantly post-Brexit. Particularly if the high costs of hiring staff requiring visas become a significant issue. Tech companies, in particular start-ups, are known for hiring and growing very quickly. On average it currently takes three weeks to hire European individuals. Balderton’s analysis states that were these individuals to go through the tier 2 visa system, it could take up to 16 weeks which would severely diminish the UK’s ability to be competitive.