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The Brexit vote is already hurting tech salaries

UK might lose leadership position within European tech landscape, survey suggests

London skyline at sunset

UK tech engineering salaries have plummeted since the vote for Brexit, with annual wages falling from 55,709 ($70,500) in May to 45,964 ($58,168) in October.

The figures are contained in investment firm Balderton Capital's latest research investigating the impact of the vote to leave the EU on the UK's tech industry, and are based on data from tech recruiter AngelList.

At the moment, London, Berlin and Paris dominate the European startup landscape, followed by Stockholm, Amsterdam, Madrid, Dublin and Copenhagen, according to the research.

The UK was the top destination for European tech talent in 2016, receiving 38% of tech job searches outside of job seekers' home countries, and has benefitted from access to global talent, with 22% of non-British workers in its tech industry.

However, while the average salary of an engineer working in the UK used to be higher than the average in any other European country, it has sunk following the Brexit vote, and is now equal to the role's average wage in Germany.

Other consequences once the Brexit vote is activated could make it far harder for the UK to hire EU workers, if it decides not to opt in to the EU tenet of freedom of movement, according to Balderton Capital.

The firm cited a current timespan of three weeks to hire EU tech workers, compared to a 16-week period if the UK extends Tier 2 visas to EU job applicants. 

James Wise, partner at Balderton Capital, said: "London has benefitted significantly from migration, with over 40% of the tech companies founded last year having at least one non-native founder.

"But the relative weakness of the pound since the referendum vote, together with developer's willingness to be mobile and work in smaller tech hubs, could reduce the relative advantage the capital enjoys without proper policy support post-Brexit."

Balderton's report predicts that if the visa quota of 20,700 people doesn't change, the UK's startup workforce could decline by 20%.

This might result in the UK's overall percentage of startups in Europe dropping from 31% to 24%, becoming nearly equal to that of France and Germany.

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