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How Brexit Will Affect IT Leaders

The monumental move of the Brexit decision sent shock waves around the world. One of the more controversial and impactful votes in the history of the UK is causing a lot of focus to be placed on topics surrounding the UK's economy and immigration policies. It is equally significant to undergo examination of how Brexit will affect the UK’s technology sector, specifically IT. 

Since no country has ever left the EU before, it is difficult to know the exact ramifications this early in the process. However, we do know that Brexit has potentially serious implications for UK’s IT industry. Here are five likely IT repercussions due to the Brexit decision.

 

Doing business with EU countries will get complicated 

Citizens of the UK have been comfortable as part of the EU, enjoying agreed upon privileges such as working across the EU on cybersecurity issues. With the Brexit decision, the UK’s participation in these collaborative efforts may no longer be possible and the movement of goods/services will change depending on future negotiations. 

Unrestricted access to the European market and its technologies has been a great benefit for the UK in the past and while new policies will eventually be created, IT leaders from around the world will be dragged into these business constraints that will create new hurdles to overcome. 

Privacy and data protection pressure 

As a member of the EU and under the Data Protection Act, UK companies have been able to use their own datacenters to store personal information on other Europeans. A post-Brexit world may result in UK companies being pressured to keep EU customer data in datacenters outside of England.

For UK IT organizations who commonly work within international treaties/copyright rules, the issues of privacy and data protection are bound to escalate due to Brexit and they will find themselves in a weaker position. IT professionals will likely have to adjust to new privacy regulations in order to maintain proper data protection policies. 

Expenses will rise 

Another effect of Brexit is that IT organizational expenses will rise. We have already seen Brexit’s impact on the stock market and if the pound continues to be weak against other currencies, hardware/software imports will continue to be more expensive.  Also, it is likely that more limited movement in and out of the UK will cause increased competition for trained IT people, driving up IT salaries.

The exact financial details stemming from Brexit will not be known until the government officially decides upon the UK’s exit process, but the uncertainty of the short term is worrisome for IT leaders. 

Smaller pool of IT talent 

All of the aforementioned IT implications from Brexit are important, but worries over a smaller pool of IT talent are perhaps the most unsettling. The smartest tech minds working in the UK have come from all over the EU, and they have been essential to the success of the UK's tech sector. Due to Brexit, the free movement of IT talent will be diminished, or worse, IT people from other EU countries may be asked to leave the UK! This creates a distributed management challenge for IT leaders and is especially concerning for IT teams with employees currently based in the UK who want to retain their most vital staff members.  

The risk of the UK losing their reputation as a tech hotbed 

In the last few years, London has been building a strong reputation as one of the best places in Europe to start a business. However, the Brexit decision has created many unknowns and Gartner has already reported that the UK can expect a 2.5% reduction in IT spending in the UK. As a result, technology companies are concerned about investing in the UK, which causes IT leaders to hesitate about moving their staff there. If UK companies decide to outsource developers/engineers due to these concerns, tech dollars will go elsewhere and the UK being less open to foreign staff will be a primary cause of the economic shift. 

With so much uncertainty about the impact of Brexit, it is more important now than ever that IT leaders stay abreast of new developments and decisions as the exit negotiations happen. Be sure to visit our blog in the future as we continue to discuss how Brexit will impact IT leaders.  

 

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by Eric Bernsen,
Marketing Analyst
Marketing Content Analyst & Promotional Writer

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