Talent Shortage And Old Immigration Laws Hold London Back, Says Study

You may have heard of the boom in tech companies in London recently, but one thing that continues to hold the scene back is access to international talent. Today a study by an independent private sector group whose 500+ members combine founders and investors from across London focuses in on that problem. And a particular issue is not being able to easily hire people out of Silicon Valley and the wider U.S.

Tech London Advocates (similar to SFciti) says a shortage of talent, combined with out-dated immigration legislation in the UK is hampering technology growth in London.

A survey of the group’s members, found that 43% said a shortage of talent was the single biggest obstacle to growth, while 10% pointed toward immigration legislation which has failed to keep pace with the times.

The findings chime in with a report by GfK last year which found that 77 per cent of London tech businesses said they would grow faster if there were more skilled people available.

The call comes as London’s tech sector continues to grow. Just-East hit the stock market with a £1.5bn valuation, while DeepMind and Natural Motion were acquired for a combined £720m within three days of each other.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates called on the UK government to “review education and immigration legislation to fuel the long term growth of London’s most vibrant industry.”

Tech companies in London have, on average, seven open vacancies, found TLA.

Dan Crow, CTO of Songkick, says “We’ve found it challenging to get highly skilled people to join us from outside the EU. There is a deep pool of highly experienced people in Silicon Valley. We’ve managed to tempt a few of them to London, but we’ve also lost some very promising potential employees because it is so hard for Americans to get work visas for the UK.”

London is a very international place and tends to attract companies scaling globally. Thus it tends to hire speakers of multiple languages.

TLA found the following companies with multiple, multi-lingual openings:

No. of languages used: 13
No. of vacancies open: 12-15

No. of languages used: 40
No. of vacancies open: 20

No. of languages used: 33
No. of vacancies open: 10

No. of languages used: 14
No. of vacancies open: 6

No. of languages used: 5
No. of vacancies open: 5

No. of languages used: 7
No. of vacancies open: 9

No. of languages used: 9
No. of vacancies open: 10

Growth Intelligence
No. of languages used: 4
No. of vacancies open: 1

No. of languages used: 10
No. of vacancies open: 5

No. of languages used: 3
No. of vacancies open: 4