UK could see a dramatic shortfall in skilled workers post-Brexit

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has warned that the UK is in danger of losing its world-leading research and development status, backed by the country’s two biggest pharma investors, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. Gavin Davidson, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Over the past decade, the UK has witnessed a 16% increase in students studying STEM subjects, which is slightly higher than the 13% observed as an average across the board. Having said this, the number of EU students studying here rose 52% over the same period, with the number of non-EU students increasing even more at 63%.”

“With Brexit creating lots of uncertainty on the UK’s future, there is no denying that it could act as a deterrent for overseas higher education students coming to the UK to study and then work. Restrictions currently being debated in the Commons in the form of a post-Brexit immigration bill would see immigrants earning less than £30,000 facing restrictions –something which would hit many undergraduates and graduates starting out in the R&D sector.

“Pharma is a major investor in the UK’s economy, yet investment in R&D has fallen by 22% between 2011 and 2016. The ABPI has unveiled concrete countermeasures to prevent this and support the sector, but without appreciation of how immigration restrictions could affect Pharma and healthcare, the UK could see a dramatic shortfall in skilled workers post-Brexit.”

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