This week, CEO of TechUK, Julian David has argued in favour of immigration in the UK, stating that businesses in the country benefit from skilled migrant workers as well as being part of the EU. This comes as the new Conservative Government stands by the view of cutting immigration, maintaining the skilled worker cap of 20,700 and the prospect of leaving the EU.
Right Skills Needed to Grow the UK Economy
Mr David’s concerns about the UK Governments stance on immigration is not something new. Before the new Tory Government was announced, the UK Technology industry has urged the Government to ease the UK Immigration Rules. The ongoing argument is that the sector is continually finding it difficult to fill vacancies due to the lack of skills in the UK. However, it is not just migrant workers who have the skills and talent in technology, according the Mr David it is the lack of skills across the board:
“The position on immigration needs to be smart and at the moment you could argue it’s dumb. We’re not talking about numbers here, we’re talking about getting the right skills needed to grow the economy, be they plumbers or be they tech entrepreneurs or be they experienced large company people.”
There have been a number of studies to back up the UK businesses concerns with the affect of the lack of skills in the UK. International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends, found that 44% of 1,500 IT workers believed staff productivity is suffering because of the skills gap. Engineering UK reported there is a massive shortage of skills in the area and UK companies will need 182,000 workers a year, with engineering skills in the decade to 2022 to generate £27 billion a year for the UK economy. Furthermore, the report stated that there is an annual shortfall of 55,000. In April 2014, a survey by Tech London Advocates, revealed that the tech talent shortage is the single biggest impediment to the future of the sector in London – with 43% pointing to the talent gap and 10% to immigration legislation as the key threats to London technology’s continued growth.
UK Tory Government Can Make or Break UK Economy
The ability to not fill vacancies in the technology sector has always been attributed to the lack of skills from individuals who are born and raised in the UK. Politicians and UK employers have pointed at the school system and their inability to teach young people the necessary skills to help them in the professional world, whilst others have turned on migrants as taking all the professional jobs before potential employees in the UK have the opportunity.
The Government has tried to assure businesses and the public in the UK as they proudly speak of having boosted the number of apprenticeships to record levels – 2.2 million over the last five years and stating last September more young people headed off to university than at any time in history. Although this is a huge accomplishment and definitely not one to be criticized, the Government has yet to make any changes that are beneficial to UK businesses now.
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