IT firms are especially reliant on non-UK talent

Tech City UK's report shows areas where the country may struggle if it loses international talent

powering digital skills

The UK's tech sector has more international workers than any other in the country's economy according to a new report, which could cause problems when Britain exits the EU.

The research, carried out by Tech City UK revealed 13% of the digital sector is made up of both EU (6%) and non-EU (7%) employees compared to the national average of 10%, comprising 6% EU workers and 4% non-EU.

One of the reasons behind the variation is the level of education of those from further afield than Europe. 17.6% of non-EU workers hold a master's or PhD qualification, compared tojust 10.5% of UK workers and 12.5% of EU employees.

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Unsurprisingly, Tech City's report showed that London is a magnet for those from outside of the country, with 31% of the digital workforce being made up of EU and non-EU-based staff in the region. The next most popular region, the South East, has the next highest level of non-UK workers, at 12%.

Although non-EU workers outnumber those from Europe, the latter group is the fastest-growing, with the number of EU citiens increasing from 4% to 6% between 2011 and 2015. This has raised concerns the UK digital sector could lose a decent proportion of its tech workforce when it becomes harder for Europeans to work here following Brexit.

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"We know that entrepreneurs are concerned about the extent to which tech communities depend on a flow of talent from EU and non-EU countries to run their businesses," George Windsor, senior insights manager at Tech City UK, said. 

"By collating an accurate picture of the mix of nationalities in the sector, we can pinpoint where pressures might exist in the future. This is the start of a programme of work from Tech City UK that will monitor the talent and workforce mix, using the insights gained to help more digital tech businesses fulfil their potential."

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