Shortage of skills threatens UK’s potential in technology and innovation post-Brexit

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The UK’s chances of taking a global lead in science, technology and innovation post-Brexit are said to be at risk according to Odgers Berndtson. The executive search firm has warned a committee of MPs, explaining this is the result of a shortage of suitably qualified and digitally savvy business leaders and young data scientists.

“The UK has world-class expertise in key areas like AI, but without urgent action to build on this, our progress will stall,” explained Michael Drew, head of the technology practice at Odgers Berndtson.

“The government must look at how the UK can continue to attract the brightest and best globally and do much more to support young women and diversity in all forms, to expand our domestic tech talent pool.”

In its submission to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Odgers Berndtson noted that the UK lacks sufficient top business leaders with the vision to transform organisations and industries and companies need more digital specialists to turn those visions into reality.

It points out that this shortage means that top transformational Chief Digital Officers can command pay packages approaching a million, while starting salaries for the best post-graduate data scientists can exceed $300,000.

Odgers Berndtson believes that government must relax immigration controls in order to attract business leaders and young data scientists. It warns that the UK could otherwise risk losing a fragile lead in key specialist areas, like AI.

Mr Drew explained that we need both ‘home-grown talent’ and ‘much greater encouragement for young women’.

He concluded that in order to inspire and encourage a new generation of digital enterprise-builders, the government must do more to encourage employers and the education system to promote and support not just women, but all diversity candidates, increasing the pool of able young talent coming into the sector.