HR · 11 January 2018

No-deal Brexit could mean nearly 100,000 fewer new UK science and tech jobs

tech startup
A hard Brexit may make recruitment more difficult for tech startups

A hard Brexit deal will lead to thousands fewer new jobs in science and technology in London and across the UK, research from the mayor of London’s office has found.

Economic analysis commissioned by mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed that a no-deal Brexit would have a severe impact on the UK economy as a whole, with these sectors likely to suffer most.

The independent study from Cambridge Econometrics claimed that even in the case of a two-year transition deal, after which the UK stayed in the European single market and customs union, there would be 36,000 fewer science and technology jobs in the UK, over 5,000 of which would be in London.

The analysis found that the harder the Brexit, the more severe the consequences on the economy.

In the worst-case scenario of a no-deal Brexit, the study predicted there’d be 92,000 fewer new jobs in science and technology, more than 11,000 of which would be in the capital.

Read more: Embracing tech could lead to the creation of 1.1m new jobs for British businesses

In addition, a hard Brexit would result in £2bn less investment in the science and technology industries – two of the most vibrant and innovative areas of the UK economy.

London’s chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “A no-deal Brexit runs the risk of completely undermining the growth and development of recent years, and could see London fall way down the league table of global science and tech hubs.

“London’s science and tech sectors are some of the most innovative and exciting parts of our economy and are the rival of anywhere in the world for their dynamism and creativity.”

The research found that across the country, a no-deal Brexit would have a disastrous impact on the jobs market, in any sector. Overall, there could be 482,000 fewer new jobs along with up to £50bn of lost investment by 2030.

The yearly average rate of economic growth could slow from 1.3 per cent to 1.1 per cent under these circumstances, according to the study.

“This will shock the sector,” added Blackwell. “Government must take action to safeguard jobs, investment and growth, or else we risk turning back the clock on years of progress and threatening our future prosperity.”

Lloyd Dorfman, chairman at Doddle and a member of the Mayor of London’s business advisory Board, said the research made for worrying reading. He added: As we negotiate our exit from the EU, I would like to see us retain as many of the benefits of the single market as possible.

“I was a firm Remainer, but now we have had the vote, we need to knuckle down and make the best of things. What should be front and centre is maintaining London’s position as the leading financial centre in the world, a vibrant place for entrepreneurship and a welcome city for all people to work.”

Commenting on the analysis, Cambridge Econometrics director, Ben Gardiner, said the findings could be of great value to local UK leaders. He said: Rigorous analysis and robust evidence such as this could be usefully applied to other parts of the UK, helping political and business leaders plan for the future.”

“This is the first time that the various impacts of Brexit – trade, investment and migration – have been comprehensively assessed across a number of key indicators and sectors at sub-national level.”

Read more: Grant funding in high-tech research and development provides £43bn economic boost

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.