London confirmed as technological capital despite Brexit. The announcement by Facebook of the construction of a new headquarters and the creation of 500 jobs is good news for London, which confirms its status as the European capital of new technologies despite the prospect of Brexit. Apple, Google and now Facebook: in the space of a few weeks these three American giants of the internet and technologies have all announced investments in the UK and especially in the capital, with mostly hires at the key. These decisions further remove fears of a loss of attractiveness for the country, while serious doubts have emerged since the vote for Brexit at the end of June, which could result in a loss of unfettered access to the European single market.On Monday, on the occasion of the annual conference of the British employers ‘ organisation CBI (Confederation of British Industry), Facebook announced that it will open a new headquarters in London in 2017 and increase its workforce in the UK by 50% by creating 500 jobs. “The UK is one of the best places for a technology company and is an important part of Facebook’s history.
We came to London in 2007 with a handful of collaborators and by the end of next year we will open a new headquarters and plan to employ a total of 1,500 people”, explained in a statement Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook for Europe.The new headquarters is currently under construction in Fitzrovia in the centre of the London Capital.For London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, quoted in the Facebook statement, this is “new evidence” that the UK capital remains at the forefront in attracting technology companies. This announcement is the second good news in a week and the decision by the American computer giant Google to build a large building in central London, which could eventually accommodate up to 3,000 additional employees, for a total investment of £ 1 billion (about € 1.7 billion).Similarly, in September, Apple announced that it would install its London headquarters in the decommissioned Battersea Power Plant, which will thus become one of the leading brands in the world with 1,400 employees.These announcements dedicate London as the technology capital, at a time when a study conducted by the European Digital Forum has just been published, considering it to be the best city in Europe for digital start-ups.
Highly qualified engineers – The survey particularly welcomes the access to finance, the entrepreneurial culture and the presence of a skilled workforce, observing that “despite the fears related to Brexit, the city still attracts great talents from all over the world”. Facebook pointed out that most of the new jobs will be highly qualified engineers, noting that it was in the United Kingdom that it developed the social network for Workplace companies,launched in October.The group relies heavily on foreign labour as some 65 nationalities are represented in its British workforce, be IT engineers, developers, sales people or in marketing. “Facebook’s commitment is a new sign that London is open to talent, innovation and entrepreneurship from around the world,” said the mayor of London.These remarks come at a time when much of the Brexit campaign has been on immigration issues and when Prime Minister Theresa May later affirmed her desire to have control of her borders. On the contrary, Europeans have pointed out that free movement goes hand in hand with access to the single market. “We have the ambition that the UK will become the place to be for scientists, innovators and investors in technology,” Theresa May said in a speech at the CBI conference on Monday.She immediately warned, however, that”we will continue to welcome the brightest and the best, but we can only do that by bringing immigration down to acceptable levels”.