UK at risk of Brexit ‘brain drain’

THE UK could face a ‘brain drain’ of top professionals in pursuit of a ‘hard’ Brexit, warned ACCA.

Anthony Walters, ACCA’s head of policy for Western Europe, said: “Talent could leave the UK whilst the UK seeks to reinvent itself post-Brexit. The UK’s more highly skilled workers will be seeking opportunities in other parts of the world thus potentially creating the beginnings of a brain drain.”

ACCA warned that businesses must explain the potential harms that immigration restrictions may have on the future of the British economy.

Apprenticeships into professional careers, such as accountancy, are a step towards giving young people valuable skills but it will take time for the highly skilled talent to hit the workforce. Restrictions to movement may also prevent UK businesses from benefiting from a global talent pool.

Walters, continued: “There is a shortage of skilled workers in many sectors and specialisms, particularly in the STEM related areas. Recruitment specialist Robert Half reported this week that demand is already outstripping supply for key accountancy and finance positions. This is not just a problem confronting London-based multinational firms, this affects other major UK finance sectors.”

In the higher education sector, loss of research funding may see universities struggle to keep the best staff. Without investment in technology, in training and development and, education, productivity is unlikely to rise.

Walters, concluded: “Productivity remains a huge challenge for the UK economy as it hasn’t recovered from the 2008 crisis, there has been no post-recession bounce. If we are to compete globally we need to go back to basics and ensure that schools are suitably resourced to provide children with the right foundations.”

Related reading