How about some good news on Brexit?

Whether your preference is Soft Brexit or Hard Brexit, the news served up tends to be fairly negative. Consequently switching jobs might not seem so appealing in this period of economic uncertainty. We decided it might be an idea to take a look at the positives of our local job industries in the here and now, as well as beyond the leave date of 29 March 2019.

Is the current economic outlook as flat as our landscape?

Not at all. Last month Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research produced a glowing report that showed that East Anglia is home to three of the fastest growing city economies in the UK, with Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich all expected to have strong long-term prospects.

Norwich continues to grow, leading in financial services and delivers world-leading innovations in food science and agri-tech. Its technology and life science industries support growth across East Anglia and it has strong emerging sectors such as digital/ICT. Ipswich has its new University with a great reputation and growing IT activity especially software design. According to the report, Ipswich had the second-highest rate recorded of GVA growth rate in the UK in the first three months of this year (2.5%), while Norwich enjoyed a growth rate of 2.4%.

Top of the list however was Cambridge, the hub of innovation with over 1,500 science-and technology-based companies in the area. A boom in artificial intelligence research has recently drawn the tech industry’s biggest companies to Cambridge including Microsoft, Google and Apple. More recently Amazon and ARM moved in and the latest resident will be Samsung. There will be job opportunities aplenty among them. Amazon announced it was hiring for new roles in Cambridge back in June .

According to independent research commissioned by AstraZeneca, Cambridge, thanks predominantly to its contribution to life sciences, currently boasts 430 firms and organisations, supports 15,500 people and contributes around £2.9billion annually to the UK economy. That figure may rise to £4billion by 2032. Jonathan Dry, Director of Oncology Bioinformatics at the IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “In terms of a scientific hub, Cambridge is phenomenal. The city fosters a strong culture of collaboration between not just organisations but sectors too. For example AstraZeneca is currently working with Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, and is a fantastic example of the cluster in action.”

Securing talent and funding until 2020

Yet, unsurprisingly, the independent research carries with it a warning. Should current levels of talent and investment for the Cambridge cluster not be sustained with a decrease in high-calibre recruits and access to funding thanks to Brexit, the economy could lose more than £7.9billion over the next 15 years (2017-32).

GOV.UK stated last month, however, that businesses, universities and local organisations were assured that funding secured via EU programmes will be guaranteed by the UK government until the end of 2020. Even in a no deal scenario. This would enable the UK to participate in all EU programmes until the end of 2020 providing some reassurance. Additionally, the Treasury will also guarantee funding for UK organisations which successfully bid directly to the European Commission – through projects like Horizon 2020 – until the end of this EU budget period if no deal is agreed.

Investment in East Anglia, here and beyond the EU

There are also many initiatives that have sprung up in our region as well as further afield that support our businesses. For instance, as reported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Invest East is an intensive support programme for high growth businesses. Norfolk County Council, alongside Suffolk County Council, University of East Anglia (UEA) – Adapt and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership have secured £0.9m of European Regional Development Funding to contribute to Invest East.

Further afield as per our recent LinkedIn post, there’s also substantial investment coming into the local economy with the £200 million investment from TusPark, Science Park arm of Beijing’s Tsinghua University, into the Cambridge Science Park. This has seen the development of the park’s first Bio-Innovation Centre as well as the spacious new headquarters of leading games company Frontier Developments.

Then recently covered in Conservative Home the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, signed an agreement in Boston Massachusetts to work towards a Partnership Accord between Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Cambridge, MA; strengthening economic ties and increasing trade and investment. Both areas are world leaders in life science, homes to thriving tech clusters and house three of the greatest universities in the world, Cambridge, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said “If we are ever to maximise the potential of Brexit, the UK needs to be able to forge its own trade deals. That can only be done successfully if we leave the EU customs union.”

Preparing for Brexit going forward

There isn’t any way anyone can predict what will happen. It’ll no doubt be a somewhat Par-Boiled Brexit which will have its many implications. But the best way forward is to prepare ourselves and our businesses. There is a lot of guidance out there. Here are some upcoming courses that we have found to get you started:

19 September 2018 Institute of Export & International Trade, London:
Post Brexit Planning Workshop

25 & 26 September 2018, Singleimage, Cambridge:
Finance in Horizon 2020

5 October 2018, MBL, London:
Intellectual Property after ‘Brexit’ – What Are the Implications?

15 November 2018, CIMA, Bedford:
East Midlands annual conference: Brexit – opportunity or threat?

So what are you waiting for?

There is a lot to be confident about. If a career change has been in the back of your mind then it’s certainly a good time to start your search. Here at Greenhill, we are busier than ever with many sales and marketing roles coming our way. We’d be delighted to help you find your next role in this incredible region of ours. Call us on 01223 813100 or upload your CV here and we’ll get in touch with you.

Brexit, Development, Recruitment