International talent coming into the UK could be severely restricted post-Brexit, according to a report from LinkedIn.
The site’s professional migration data reveals that the 27 other states of the EU (EU-27) have accounted for 40% of professional migration to the UK since January 2013, making these states collectively the biggest foreign supplier of professional workers to British businesses in the last three years, far ahead of North America (17%) and Asia (14%).
The data also reveals that almost two-thirds (61%) of professional migrants from the EU-27 had a masters or doctorate degree, far higher than the general UK professional population (34%). This suggests that any future restriction on EU migration could deny UK businesses some of the world’s most educated workers.
The professional services sector was found to be the industry most at risk from a Brexit talent shortage. EU workers were 50% more likely to be working in the UK’s professional services industry compared to the general UK professional population, highlighting a potential talent shortfall.
Josh Graff, UK country manager at LinkedIn, warned that UK markets need to be ready for the potential effects of Brexit.
“There has already been a lot of debate about the impact of Brexit on blue-collar workers, but British businesses also face a very real white-collar skills gap that they need to start thinking about,” he said. “Our findings are clear: UK companies need to prepare themselves for a more difficult talent market, and may want to start looking at how they can develop more talent at home, or cast the net further. The USA and Australia already account for more than a fifth of professional migration to the UK, so they are a good place to start.
“If businesses are depending on talent from overseas to be competitive it is time for them to let the government know, so that they negotiate a settlement that can support Britain's success. In turn, we’re calling on government to ensure that maintaining access to talent is one of the key priorities when negotiations begin.”