Brexit 20/06/2016

Contractors, Unicorns and Brexit – what does it mean?

The EU Referendum is fast approaching and voting will commence on 23 June 2016. This is a short article about the implications of a Brexit on contractors and on Unicorns*.


The upcoming EU referendum could see Britain leaving the EU and this, according to CXC Global, may have a negative impact on the UK contractor arena. The implications of a potential ‘Brexit’ is looking to lead to added administration challenges for EU-based companies should they decide to use specialist contractors.

One of the benefits of using contractors is that they can provide immediate expertise and are ready to work within a few days. There are concerns that should Britain leave the EU, this ease of access to contractors could be limited. Another key benefit of utilising expert contractors is that they work independently and require limited management or supervision, but a Brexit could mean that they require increased supervision and management from the client. Although nothing is set in stone there are deep concerns that contractors might suffer were a Brexit to occur.


Loss of status

London is globally recognised as the digital capital of Europe and there are concerns that a Brexit could threaten to undermine its position. According to Tech London Advocates, 87% of representatives are against Britain leaving the EU for one reason or another. There are fears by many major tech companies that should a Brexit occur the likes of Berlin, Paris Stockholm could take over due to it being harder to reach EU countries, harder to source talent from overseas and harder to convince international companies to operate in the UK at scale.

Talent sourcing from EU countries

A talent shortage is the largest concern facing the London tech sector, especially when it comes to developers and engineers according to research by TLA. It is often the case that these skills are easier to find in the EU, but should a Brexit occur and free movement of workers within the EU ends, talent sourcing from the EU would prove to be much more of a challenge.

Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, a unicorn company, said:

“We believe it would be crazy for the UK to leave the EU, both for businesses and consumers.”

A Brexit could have a huge impact on tech companies and some have even expressed that they will relocate should Britain end up leaving the EU.

On the other hand, leaving the EU could result in developing and implementing new immigration laws which might be more favourable for attracting top tech talent from abroad, although this may take some time to come to fruition.

Whatever the case, there are deep concerns by contractors and Unicorns that a Brexit could have far-reaching implications.

*A unicorn is a term which refers to a tech company valued at over $1 billion.

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