value insights

Brexit strategy: CIO Planning for UK-EU split- Valutrics

People problems

Koetzle, who co-wrote a brief on the challenges CIOs at companies with U.K. ties may face while legislators negotiate the split, said another issue is European workers in Britain may decide to leave, rather than wait to see whether they can stay in the country legally.

“Nobody likes their immigration status to be uncertain, and so very talented people have loads of options,” she said. “Some of them may say, ‘You know what? I don’t know what my chances of being able to stay here are, so maybe I go take one of the many awesome jobs in some startup in Barcelona or Amsterdam or wherever.'”

Johnson is more skeptical of any coming tech brain drain. How porous or closed the borders between the U.K. and Europe are going to be is an open question, she said, as is what skills are going to be available. That said, CIOs probably don’t need to rethink their hiring practices yet, she said. 

“Keep hiring British programmers if you’re hiring British programmers.”

Some tech industry execs view the U.K.-EU split as a positive for hiring. Saalim Chowdhury is the chief strategy officer at Toptal, which uses software to match freelancers to companies that need them. Without the free flow of people across the English Channel, Chowdhury said, the U.K. may gain access to a higher caliber of talent.

“We can either have the European system, which says, ‘Hey, we’ll take everyone,’ or we can have a system that allows highly skilled, highly talented people from all over the world to come to London,” Chowdhury said in a statement.