This is a companion question to Why is Brexit bad for British science? Judging from the responses to that question, a significant number of academics are unhappy with Brexit and are not intending to stay in the country for the long term. The implication is that it's become easier to get a British academic position, since there are fewer people interested. Is this borne out in actual data? I'm particularly interested in whether the number of applicants for faculty positions / postdocs dropped, and if so by how much.

The closest thing I've seen to this is Royal Society president Venkatraman Ramakrishnan saying they have anecdotal evidence of people not wanting to come / wanting to leave, but no statistical evidence. It seems to me it should be possible to get that statistical evidence, e.g. universities probably keep a record of applicants for each position, so if there's a change in number after 2016 it should be noticeable. There was no drop in international student applications, but it's not obvious if that also applies to faculty positions.

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    And experience from, eg the 2008 financial crash, shows that it will take time (2-3 years) for even a major financial shock to have a clear impact on academic finances. Add to that the effect of existing austerity measures, I don't think the impact will be clear until after 2021. – Ian Jul 24 '18 at 10:00
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    It may be worth revisiting this question in 5 years. – Dmitry Savostyanov Jul 24 '18 at 10:04
  • My impression is that the long-term trend is one of increasing competition for positions. Thus it may be that Brexit causes a deceleration of this rate of change, without actually changing the sign of the trend. Given the noise one might expect in any data (e.g. due to local factors), I suspect it will be difficult to pull anything convincing out until significantly more time has elapsed. – avid Jul 24 '18 at 13:19

Fro the anecdotal evidence referred to by Venkatraman Ramakrishnan it appears that there are people who do not want to come to the UK post-Brexit. In your question you are implying a conjecture that the number of applications will fall and there will be easier to get an academic job in the UK.

The conjecture seems wrong to me. You seem to ignore the fact that the number of jobs in academia is not constant. Many jobs are funded by research councils in the UK but also EU councils like ERC. If this funding is going to reduce, so will the pool of available jobs.

Teaching-focused academic staff are funded by the Universities directly and this funding depends on student recruitment numbers. There is a certain rise in the numbers currently following the cap lifting in 2014 but it won't last forever and can't compensate for the expected reduction in EU student numbers.

Even if Universities disclose their records of application numbers for the academic posts (which is not likely), this information has to be compared also with the number of posts being advertised. Bear in mind also that with pound weakening, UK jobs are becoming less attractive for overseas applicants even on purely financial grounds.

To summarise, it is possible that the application numbers reduce and it becomes harder to secure an academic job post-Brexit.

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    A further complication here: economic uncertainty/downturn tends to reduce self-attrition in the workforce. People who might otherwise have retired, taken time out for parenting, or shifted from full-time to part-time work, decide that it's too much of a financial risk, and hang on to what they have. This reduces the rate at which existing positions become vacant. – Geoffrey Brent Jul 24 '18 at 13:11
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    I would argue that it is re-balancing away from EU budget towards global market. Between India, China, and Southeast Asia, there are tens of millions of students who have UK as their #1 choice for their university destination. Most of them don't plan to stay in UK after they obtain their degree. In fact, many can find higher paying jobs back in their fast growing economies with a UK degree. High tuition/living costs and visa requirements hold them back. Hundreds of my Chinese students would like to go to UK for masters. I've yet to meet one who wants to study in Germany or France – Arthur Tarasov Jul 25 '18 at 3:02
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    @ArthurTarasov China already provides UK more students than EU: hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/where-from – Dmitry Savostyanov Jul 26 '18 at 4:58

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