Berlin tech talent
Berlin Brandenburger Tor at night. Image: luisawhr/Shutterstock

Berlin makes a play for top tech talent as Brexit nears

2 Aug 2017

The Brexit aftermath will have knock-on effects for tech talent in the UK, but where will they fly to?

With growing economies and global talent shortages, it’s no surprise that any major change or unrest within a country will see others vying for the attention of those who are considering a big move.

Not so long ago, we saw Canada spring into action after the election of US president Donald Trump, given the uneasiness that followed.

After the election, Canada’s immigration website actually crashed, most likely due to a high volume of traffic.

Unsurprisingly, Canada jumped at the opportunity to soak up all the tech talent that the US had to offer by streamlining its visa systems.

Closer to home, Ireland has seen a huge number of consequences already taking place as a result of Brexit, not least the number of financial institutions looking to Dublin as a potential hotspot.

However, while Dublin may seem like the obvious choice, other EU cities such as Amsterdam and Paris are striving to bring some of London’s financial institutions to their neck of the woods.

It’s not just the banks either. A recent study shows that the UK faces losing as many as half of its highly skilled EU workers over the next five years due to Brexit.

And, while a number of cities are in the running to absorb that talent pool, one city in particular has been making its play since the start.

Berlin calling

Shortly after the Brexit vote, a truck with a billboard on its side addressing start-ups drove around London. It said: ‘Keep calm and move to Berlin’ and was sponsored by a German political party.

So, what would make a move to Berlin so tempting in comparison to other EU cities?

For a start, Berlin is extremely effective at supporting technology start-ups and, by extension, tech talent.

Germany’s Digital Strategy 2025 predicts that the company’s GDP could rise by an additional €82bn if it is to develop and use digital technologies to its full advantage.

When it comes to benefits for workers in Berlin in general, there are some perks that win out over the UK, depending on what the talent is looking for.

The German government helps new parents by offering parental leave until an employee’s child turns three, with a guarantee that their job will be secure should they choose to return.

Workers looking to move after Brexit who are worried about their right to work in the EU can rest assured that they can apply for a Blue Card to work in Germany.

While the mass exodus from the UK – which is often hyped up since the Brexit vote is unlikely to take place in such a dramatic fashion – moves are occurring, and we’ve seen declarations to relocate from the banks.

Berlin can lure tech talent with its positive work-life balance, comparatively reasonable rents and plenty of employment opportunities. Will it attract all the tech talent it’s hoping for? Only time will tell.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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