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A 'Brexit' may have a sunny side for tech

Patrick Thibodeau | June 23, 2016
Polls show tech industry opposition to a UK-European Union break, but the view isn’t universal.

If recent surveys of U.K. tech leaders are accurate, most hope to remain in the EU. CompTIA recently surveyed 32 small and midsize businesses in the U.K. and found that 53% opposed an exit, 19% were in favor, and the remainder were uncertain.

Polls of voters have indicated that the outcome will be close, and neither side was certain of victory. Results from the vote are expected to roll in tomorrow evening in the U.S. after polls close in the U.K.

There are worries about the broader economic impact of a yes decision. A Brexit would reduce freedom of movement, said Phil Gibbs, the London-based executive director of customer success for LLamasoft, a supply chain software maker based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Many distribution operations in the U.K. are staffed by labor that originates from the continent, particularly within the Eastern European nations," said Gibbs via email. "If restrictions are placed on their ability to work in the U.K., a labor shortage could emerge, leading to upward pressure on costs."

Investment decisions by global companies are bound to be affected, as well, said Gibbs. "They will no doubt be modeling the impact of movements in costs, labor availability and trade restrictions on their supply chain before making decisions," he said.

 

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