Brexit aftermath: reactions of the digital and tech industry
Britain is reeling this morning from the shock of a Brexit result. With just a small majority, 51.9% voted to leave, and 48.1% remain. Initial reactions from within the digital media and tech industry have been largely of disappointment and concern, bar a few exceptions. via In the build-up to the referendum, concerns have focused on the impact a ‘leave’ result would have upon creativity and talent within the digital industry particularly. It’s a sector already facing a skills shortage, and moving forward the inability to pool talent from the rest of Europe could have damaging repercussions. Economic worries and the affect Brexit could have upon supply and trade have also plagued discussions, and the pull that London has had for overseas tech and digital start-ups could rapidly diminish. Ahead of the referendum, the IAB polled its members, to see what their views were on leaving the EU. A huge majority, 74%, said they believed a ‘leave’ result would have negative consequences for the digital industry. This morning, respected industry figures have offered their initial reactions to the result that was for many, hugely unexpected. WPP’s chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, stated: “I am very disappointed, but the electorate has spoken. The resulting uncertainty, which will be considerable, will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity. This is not good news, to say the least. However, we must deploy that stiff upper lip and make the best of it. Four of WPP’s top ten markets are in Western Continental Europe and we must build our presence there even further. It just underlines the importance of implementing our strategy: fast-growth markets (BRICs and Next 11), digital, data – and horizontality, which ironically means getting our people to work together, not apart!” Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General said: “As an industry, we had hoped that the referendum would have kept us in the EU, however, we believe the UK will continue to lead the world with its creative industries and advertising in particular. We have always been known and admired for our inventiveness and ideas. It will now be more important than ever that we continue to demonstrate these valuable traits.” Across Twitter, we’ve been avidly watching as industry reactions unfurl. Here is our pick of some of the most thought provoking we’ve seen so far… Yannick Bolloré, Havas global chief “At Havas Group we will continue to support our British friends and invest in the UK” Cliff Jones, product manager, Vodafone “UK just voted for us to restrict our talent pool and become a startup with no USP in an overcrowded market. And our CEO has just resigned.” Mike Butcher, Editor at Large, TechCrunch “I want a General Election ASAP. I want a new, better, Labour leader. I want the UK to feel such economic pain that it realises its mistake… the media has utterly failed to communicate the implications of this disaster. This will be the hard reality.” Karsten Weide, VP, Media & Entertainment at IDC “#Brexit: finally, the crisis the EU has needed to be reformed. It will be better off for it. Crisis is good, crisis means growth.” Ronan Dunne, CEO, O2 Telefónica UK “I for one am saddened that a generation of young people who want to be in Europe will have to leave Europe to stay in Europe #UKRef #Future” Rohan Silva, co-founder, Second Home London “I voted #Remain – but I also believe that Britain will always be open, creative & entrepreneurial. Let’s ensure that happens. #EUref” Paul Frampton, CEO, Havas Media Group UK & Ireland “Not for a long time has UK felt so divided as this morning. Big divides between London, the North, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland #EuRef” Matt Rhodes, head of digital strategy, WCRS London “I’m glad we can now spend at least two years obsessing about this mess rather than on other issues that really matter in this country” The final result is in, and it might not be what we as an industry were hoping for…but now more than ever we must work together to ensure the UK’s digital media industry continues to flourish. The UK has always been a hotbed of creativity, and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue.