According to an analysis conducted by LinkedIn of its own members profiles, the UK funnels in the biggest chunk of its professional migrants from Europe, and they are apparently better educated than their British peers. The figures come in the wake of Brexit, a political decision that has left the public still scratching their heads over how to deal with the sudden vacuum of skilled staff that employers previously tapped from all over the continent.
These conclusions were reached by an analysis of the profiles of members who have moved to the UK over the past three years. It was found that 40 per cent of them came from elsewhere in the EU, while North America and Asia supplied 17 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. It further showed that while more than 60 per cent of members who moved to the UK from the EU had a masters or doctoral degree, only 34 per cent of the natives could compare to that standard.
The data paints an imperfect picture, however: it offers only a snapshot of professional migration through the lens of people who use LinkedIn. In addition, LinkedIn has no way of verifying the qualifications people claim they hold, though it points out that “as a public profile of your academic and professional achievements, on a professional site, and used by recruiters to identify candidates, it is in the interests of members to accurately represent themselves”.
In spite of these caveats, the figures highlight the fact that while the majority of EU nationals working in the UK are in lower-skilled jobs earning less than £20,000 a year, Brexit will affect the flow of highly-skilled professionals too.
Speaking on the topic, Josh Graff, LinkedIn’s UK country manager, said:
There has already been a lot of debate about the impact of Brexit on blue-collar workers, but British businesses also face a very real white-collar skills gap, that they need to start thinking about. Our findings are clear: UK companies need to prepare themselves for a more difficult talent market, and may want to start looking at how they can develop more talent at home, or cast the net further. The US and Australia already account for over a fifth of professional migration to the UK, so they are a good place to start.
He further went on to say that LinkedIn employed about 240 people in the UK, many of whom had come from overseas. The analysis further claims that the decision to leave the EU could potentially stop UK business from accessing the best and the brightest talent from Europe, with professional services, technology and finance likely to be the worst hit. Graff continued:
‘If businesses are depending on talent from overseas to be competitive, it is time for them to let the government know, so that they negotiate a settlement that can support Britain’s success. In turn, we’re calling on Government to ensure that maintaining access to talent is one of the key priorities when negotiations begin.
On a related note, Brexit minister David Davis has promised a “generous settlement” for EU citizens currently in the UK, and those who have been here for at least five years will automatically qualify for permanent residence. The status of those who have arrived more recently is still far from clear.
As a form of containment, London mayor Sadiq Khan is trying to implement a specialist visa system for London, to ensure businesses in the capital – where the majority of professional services, finance and technology jobs are based – retain their access to talent from Europe.