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UK risks of losing competitive advantage in attracting international talent

  • January 30, 2024
  • 2 min read
UK risks of losing competitive advantage in attracting international talent

A new report from the City of London Corporation and EY has found that while the UK continues to be a leading hub for international talent, a strategy is required to maintain a competitive advantage. The International talent and economic growth: Global competition report examines how global talent is essential for economic growth amidst an increase in geopolitical competition in strategic technologies and high-growth sectors.

The report found that the UK is still appealing for a range of reasons. However, while it is supported by clear visa routes and short processing times, it is a high-cost market to enter compared to other places and is the only advanced economy without a strategy in place.  

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently predicted a global human talent shortage of over 85 million people by 2030. This would result in nearly $8.5 trillion in potential unrealised revenue annually.

The report sets out a range of recommendations for the UK to improve its competitiveness and continue to be attractive globally. This includes creating a global talent working group that combines a broad skills approach with thematic policies such as targeted skills gaps, labour shortages, diversification of the economy and innovation/entrepreneurialism.

It also recommends improvement of international trade agreements such as the use of reciprocal Youth Mobility Schemes and the Global Business Mobility Route (which facilitated visa routes to overseas firms establishing a presence in the UK or transferring staff to the UK).

Finally, government adoption of new ways of working to access global skills without borders, building on partnerships that enable access to talent leveraging technology and borderless workforces.

“Competition for global talent remains fierce, and the UK’s competitor markets are more active in this space than ever,” Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, Chris Hayward, said. “40% of London’s financial and professional service workforce were born outside the UK, so it’s essential that the UK continues to attract international talent to unlock the full potential of financial services and other fast-growing industries. The recommendations from this report will help firms attract the talent they need to scale up in the UK.

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