UK businesses preparing for software skills shortfall following Brexit

Companies recognise continuous innovation is key for success 

  • Two thirds of IT decision-makers think UK in danger of losing vital software developer talent
  • 77% of CIOs plan for staff outside UK to assist in development and deployment of software
  • 93% of CIOs and 84% of IT decision-makers cite ability to develop their own software as key to responding to Brexit uncertainty 

Research from Pivotal has found UK businesses anticipate software developer talent in Britain will decrease post-Brexit.

The study reveals two thirds (66%) of IT decision-makers believe the UK is in danger of losing vital software developer talent following the EU departure, with 59% of CIOs predicting lack of access to talent will hinder their organisation’s success.

With the CBI cutting the forecast for UK economic growth, partly over concerns surrounding Brexit’s impact, Pivotal’s study shows UK businesses believe they’ll be left fighting for personnel to help optimise operations. The majority of CIOs surveyed have plans to move a portion of software development overseas, potentially taking work away from skilled workers remaining in the UK and giving it to rival thriving tech hubs in Europe. In fact, over three quarters (77%) of CIOs plan to have staff outside the UK assist in the development and deployment of software post-Brexit – indicative of diminished confidence in the UK’s ability to succeed as a digital skills hub after a formal split from the EU.

Acknowledging the importance of software development capabilities today, 93% of CIOs and 84% of IT decision makers cite their ability to develop software as essential for equipping their organisation to respond to Brexit. Recognising continuous innovation is necessary to succeed in business, 44% of CIOs stated they’ve invested more in software since the vote to leave to help optimise operations and innovate.

“With software innovation considered such a key ingredient to prosperity post-Brexit, the notion that operations will be moved overseas is concerning,” comments Robbie Clutton, Head of Pivotal Labs, EMEA. “Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, companies can choose to either shape themselves or be shaped by the circumstances. Organisations can pick the route of innovation over submitting to the status quo, but it requires technology, culture and the right people working together in ways that foster agility and create business value.” 

James Governor, Analyst at RedMonk said: “Brexit will be the biggest systemic shock to British business in more than 70 years. The scale of change will require an unprecedented investment in IT, with in-house application development becoming more important than ever to deal with complexity.”

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