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Trump Creates Uncertainty For US Tech Workers But Brexit Means UK Unlikely To Benefit

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Research shows US tech workers believe immigration stimulates innovation and some are considering leaving the US, but Brexit has made UK less attractive

Ongoing concerns about Donald Trump’s presidency and the challenges of Brexit are impacting the market for technology jobs, with three quarters of US and UK candidates admitting they are are uncertain about what lies ahead. 

Research from Hired.com suggests the US could face a tech talent shortage to the tune of 1.1 million by 2024.  

Indeed, there was a 60 percent decrease in requests from US based firms to foreign workers between the second and fourth quarters of 2016 following Trump’s victory in last year’s Presidential election. 

Donald Trump, US election

Trump on tech 

Not only that, but two fifths say they have considered relocating since then, although there has been a recovery since the initial aftermath of the result. 

The vast majority of candidates said they believed immigration was a key driver of innovation and four firths said they did not agree with Trump’s executive order that halted migration from a number of predominantly Muslim nations. 

One of the biggest debates in the US is the status of the H1-B visa system, with many concerned a planned overhaul could limit tech firms’ ability to hire the best foreign talent. However the figures show that foreign workers are more likely to believe the process is flawed than citizens. 

They want the system to be more merit-based, with prioritisation for skilled workers and higher salaries, and a reduced emphasis on sponsorship. 

However the UK does not appear to be well-placed to take advantage of any exodus. Canada, Germany, Asia and Australia are all ahead of Britain, with 43 percent saying Brexit had made the country a less desirable place to live. 

A separate study earlier this year found that 70 percent of UK tech workers were considering leaving the UK following the EU referendum, while the industry is concerned about access to talent, markets and other resources. 

However the government is trying to mitigate any threat from Brexit, while a KPMG report suggested the UK has the fourth most promising tech sector in the world. 

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