Should EU Tech Pros Stay or Go Before Brexit?

Although the government has outlined a way for EU citizens working in the UK to stay on indefinitely, many tech professionals are still wondering whether they should stay or go before Britain formally exits the European Union on March 29, 2019.

In fact, according to a report from Deloitte, 47 percent of highly skilled workers from the EU who are currently working in the UK are considering leaving in the next five years; in addition, 15 percent are planning to leave in the next 12 months.

But is pulling up stakes in the wake of the Brexit vote really the best way to go? Here are some questions to ponder as you make this important decision.

How Will Moving Affect Your Career?

There’s no doubt that tech pros who possess technological and English literacy skills can land another job just about anywhere. But will you be able to achieve your long-term career goals and follow your passions if you leave the UK?

While Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Copenhagen may challenge London’s supremacy down the road, London’s Tech City is clearly the innovation capital of Europe, noted Padraig Coffey, CEO of recruiting and talent firm Zartis.

If you’re interested in working with newer frameworks and leading-edge organizations, staying in London might be the better option, Coffey pointed out.

Nick Waller, founder of Global {M}, a recruitment and investment firm, agreed with that assessment, explaining that London has a vibrant tech scene and startup ecosystem that is supported by high levels of private equity investment. “It’s a matter of coming to grips with what you want to do long-term,” he noted. “For instance, if you want to be a founder or work in blockchain or AI, you’ll need access to the very best mentors, influencers and contacts.”

Indeed, investments in the UK tech sector reached £2.99bn in 2017, which dwarfed Germany’s £645m. According to Meetup, London hosted 22,000 tech-related meetup events in 2016 – nearly three times as many as Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris.

If you don’t have one, developing a longer-term career plan will provide you with a framework for determining whether leaving the UK is a step towards your ultimate goal, or simply a distraction in your journey.

How Will Relocating Impact Your Family and Quality of Life?

Average wages vary from one city and country in Europe to another, but the cost of basics such as food, rent, healthcare and transportation determines your standard of living. For instance, living costs are way higher in London than in Berlin. However, because British firms are offering non-UK nationals an average of 28 percent more than local applicants in order to fill job vacancies (according to Hired), this may be an ideal time to ask for a raise if you want to stay in the UK. And keep in mind that moving is never easy, especially if you have a family.

Another thing to consider is how your post-Brexit location may impact your climb up the economic ladder. “For instance, the exodus of tech pros in the UK could create a talent vacuum for years to come and unforeseen opportunities to advance your career,” Coffey said. “If you’re interested in becoming a technical team lead or even a CTO, your chances of succeeding might be better if you stay in the UK.”

Your location may impact your ability to pursue an advanced degree. For example, the UK has 71 universities ranked in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, and hosts over 500,000 foreign students annually.

As experts point out, some cities are more expensive but worth it because they offer better opportunities to move up the economic ladder. The question is: Can the local tech boom drive up wages and career opportunities to the point that you come out ahead?

Are You Really Unwanted?

It’s easy to feel like an outcast after the Brexit vote. But the fact is that most cities in the UK (particularly London) are very diverse. For example, in London, 31 percent of the digital tech workforce were born outside the UK, according to a report by TechCityUK. There is evidence that some tech companies have a much higher share of international workers than the rest of the digital workforce.

“Are you being hasty or rushing into a decision you might regret?” Waller asked. “Before you make an emotional decision, ask yourself these questions: Has your employer been supportive? Has your boss encouraged you to stay?”

Now that the government has provided certainty about the future of EU citizens and their families living in the UK, if things are going well for you, you may have nothing to lose by sticking around a while longer and seeing how things play out after Brexit.

Related Posts

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.