Brexit and the creative industries: What does triggering Article 50 mean for access to talent in the
Editor Comments: The UK has acknowledged the significance of their skills gap and have taken steps to remedy the situation. One of the most significant efforts has been their program to introduce coding to school age children, as young as four years. Another program which deserves note is the introduction of apprenticeship schemes. But these tactics have not been enough to fill the huge demand for tech skills. Start-up's and established businesses have taken advantage of UK's participation in the EU to hire non-nationals to fill tech roles. Brexit is certainly going to make things more complex for tech businesses when dealing with the impact of the skills gap.
Throughout EU referendum campaigning, many argued that untamed migration was the main driver of public Euro-scepticism, and it ultimately dictated the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Now Article 50 has been triggered, this article reassesses the state of migration in the UK, and poses some of the big questions that will underpin discussions around access to talent for the creative industries.
One of the core pillars of the Industrial Strategy is skills. This is recognition that government views skills development as fundamental to growth, alongside levers such as infrastructure, investment and trade. This is all the more important for the creative industries - but currently the sector cannot meet the whole of its talent needs from the UK, so firms must recruit from overseas.
The creative industries are reliant on talent from outside the UK
From our analysis of the Annual Population Survey in Skilled Migration and the UK’s Creative Industries, we see sub-sectors like ‘IT, software and computer services’ are particularly reliant on non-European nationals, at 8.4 per cent of the workforce. This compares with 4.2 per cent of the workforce as a whole.
The decision to leave the EU has tipped the UK into a state of talent uncertainty. Left unresolved, this uncertainty could be damaging for businesses who may be minded to hold off on making critical skills investment or recruitment decisions. This would, in turn, have implications for employment and growth.
We know that a large proportion of creative businesses are small or micro, and many other workers are self employed. If, say, a business has less than 10 employees on its books, the impact of a decision to employ a non-UK national is magnified. Get it wrong, and the relative cost to the business could be crippling. So, this begs the difficult question- does the business hire a UK national without all the skills required to do the job, leaving a skills gap to be filled by costly training? Or, does it persist with a skills shortage and allow this to impact business growth?
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