As the parties and their voters consider the appeal of a hard or soft Brexit in the lead up to the general election, we’ve kept an eye on the manifestos, stats and facts to see what effect leaving the EU has had on recruitment in the tech sector so far – and what the parties are promising for our future.
The tech industry has relied heavily on workers from overseas, and particularly Europe, in the past. Since Brexit however, the figures show that employment of European tech professionals has dropped significantly in the UK in Q1 of 2017. With the current tech skills crisis in Britain, where does that leave businesses in the UK?
The tech industry has been vocal since Brexit, asking the Prime Minister to protect the UK’s tech position by giving access to overseas workers, with many concerned that a hard Brexit could seriously damage the industry, so are these worries being tackled in the party manifestos?
Here’s a summary of the main points concerning the tech industry in the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem manifestos:
The Conservative Party’s Manifesto:
The Conservative Party pledged to harness “the power of fast-changing technology” to make Britain the “best place to start and run a digital business” and the “safest place in the world to be online” with a new infrastructure to tackle cybercrime. Theresa May has promised to give “digital businesses access to the investment, skills and talent they need to succeed” with investment into ‘tech institutes’ and apprenticeships in STEM subjects.
The Party also pledged to ensure digital businesses have access to the best talent from overseas to compete, whilst at the same time, controversially, doubling the Tier 2 visa charge!
The Labour Party’s Manifesto:
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has also pledged massive investment of £250bn into infrastructure, transport systems, communications and energy systems. Along with significant upgrades to broadband and 5G. Most welcomed in our industry, however, is Corbyn’s promise to maintain access to the single market.
The party also pledged to extend the use of technology across industry into areas such as farming, food and fishing.
The Lib Dem’s Manifesto:
Lib Dem’s pledged to install “hyperfast, fibre-optic” broadband throughout Britain, and also intend to keep coding on the school’s national curriculum. As with the other parties, they also pledged investment into smart grid technology and new energy.
The party also plans to invest into new space technology and build on the success of tech clusters to act as incubators for tech start-ups.
We’re interested to learn more about their pledge to “modernize employment rights” with reference to the gig economy. Also, on page 42 of their manifesto, they say they will fight for EU funded academic grants, which would support the tech industry.
What’s your opinion? We’d love to hear from you if you work in the tech sector. Which party do you think offers the better deal for our industry – and country?
Source: Wired, Computer Weekly, Party Manifestos, iNews, ILO