Immigration boosts innovations in tech sector

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In both the US and UK demand for tech talent is high, but immigration law in both countries is still uncertain

Four in five (81%) believe immigration boosts innovation in the technology industry, according to research from jobsite Hired.

The survey of American technology workers found that only 7% didn't think immigration enhances innovation. Additionally, 77% believed immigration helps boost diversity in the industry, compared with 14% who disagreed.

However, the respondents were uncertain about the future of their industry, with 75% of US candidates unclear about what lies ahead and 72% of UK candidates thinking Brexit brings uncertainty. The UK was found to be the fifth relocation destination of choice for US workers, after Canada, Germany, Asia and Australia. The research suggests Brexit is acting as a deterrent to migrating US technology workers.

Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired, warned that HR will have an important part to play in mitigating technical skills gaps. “Like our recent report on the impact of Brexit on tech hiring, many of the findings in this current report are the result of uncertainty brought about by potential changes in immigration policy in the US and the UK,” he said.

“In both countries the need for tech talent remains at an all-time high, and if companies can’t rely on foreign workers to help cover shortfalls in domestic supply we’re likely to see an exacerbation of the skills gap. So HR must firstly ensure they are putting plans in place to train and upskill current employees to avoid a severe talent crisis.”

Patel added that firms need to be aware of the benefits that attract tech workers. “As the competition for talent grows, it is vital that UK technology companies and recruiters understand it is not just about who has the coolest office and the best lunches, but who has the most innovative and rewarding opportunities that will attract top tech talent,” he said. “With competition rising from outside the UK, its reputation for being an innovative leader and technology hub has never been more important.

“This starts with the interview process. Companies must ensure they leave candidates with a positive lasting impression. That includes how they are treated before, during and after the interview. This ‘positive impression’ has to also be created by the UK technology sector as a whole – from government, industry groups and business – it must be a concerted effort.”

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