Post-Brexit, UK tech industry has bounced back and is gathering strength and depth. Tech City UK polled 2,732 businesses in the digital and tech communities in the Tech Nation 2017 report finding that there has been a dramatic improvement on the tech sector’s confidence. 49% of the respondents expected the business environment to get better in 2017. It is also interesting to note that four in ten of those questioned by Tech City UK in the survey identified themselves as founders or chief executives of tech or digital companies.
Over the last decade, London has been a preferred choice for international tech investor projects. London tech community which was deemed to lose most from the Brexit referendum due to its reliance on EU workers and investors is now expecting the situation to improve and is positive about the growth of the UK tech industry. 35% of London’s digital community has shown the confidence in the UK tech industry growth compared to 6% in June last year.
Skills shortages which has long been a persistent challenge for the UK tech industry seems to be improving too. According to the Report on Jobs, published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), demand for IT contractors in January rose to 58.3, compared to 56.3 in December 2016. It has overcome the IT skill shortages faced last year, especially Java contractors, general developers and gaming. The companies seem to have embraced the uncertainty and have taken up opportunities by hiring and locking-in the IT skills in the pre-Christmas period that they need post-Christmas to cover the first three months of 2017.
The UK tech and digital sector has received strong endorsements from US tech giants in the months after the Brexit poll, with Apple committing to its £9bn London HQ project; Google announcing plans to hire 3,000 more people across the UK and Facebook unveiling plans to create 500 new UK jobs in 2017. IBM also said it planned to open four new UK data centres. Just before Christmas, British tech unicorn (valued over $1bn) Just Eat bought its UK rival Hungryhouse in a £200m deal.
The UK tech industry is definitely on a rise and showing encouraging signs of progress and development. However, the concerns of IR35 reforms still looms over the IT contractors. With UK Government advising techie contractors to hike fees by a fifth, only time will say whether they decide to jump the ship to the private sector or up their charges.