UK firms relying on migrant workers from EU: Study

news
30 September 2014

A new survey in the UK has revealed that companies were relying on migrant workers to fill job vacancies as they were more experienced than British candidates.

According the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a poll of over 1,000 UK businesses showed many were making a ''rational decision'' to hire foreign labour.

The CIPD added its research had found that negative assumptions about the growth of the migrant workforce were not true.

For instance, only one in eight employers admitted hiring foreign workers ''because they have lower expectations about pay and employment conditions'', it said.

According to a 46-page study produced by the CIPD, firms that employed workers from the EU were more likely to have expanded their business in the past two years.

According to Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, employers had been turning to EU migrants to fill vacancies, especially for lower skilled jobs, often because they were a bit older and had more work experience than young people in the UK, emphasising the competitive nature of the market for entry level jobs.

Employers were making rational decisions to employ more experienced and qualified workers from overseas over less experienced UK workers, or were hiring migrants as there were simply not enough applicants in the local labour market.

The research found little evidence that migrants were being employed as they were cheaper than UK born workers, or because they needed less training.

Migration was also only one factor affecting the high number of young people out of work, as there had been an increase in older employees, former benefit claimants as also parents looking for jobs, the report said.

According to Cheese, this was a highly charged political issue, but the CIPD's research showed that many of the negative assumptions about immigration are untrue.

He added, employers were making rational decisions to employ more experienced and qualified workers from overseas over less experienced UK workers, or are hiring migrants because there were simply not enough applicants in the local labour market.

He said, what the vast majority of employers were not doing was hiring migrants to lower the wage bill or offset the need to train the workforce.

He said the question therefore was not whether ambitious employers who were recruiting migrant workers should be restricted in their efforts to grow their businesses and contribute to the UK economy.





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