Abstracts: October 1st, 2014

Employers who’ve turned to EU migrants to fill vacancies in recent years say they’ve done so because these recruits have brought the experience and commitment needed to support growth. This is a major conclusion from research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The CIPD report draws on the perspectives of employers, young UK-born people and EU migrants themselves on the migration debate, alongside previously unreported analysis of ONS data on migrant labour. Although the report finds evidence of a more competitive labour market for young people seeking entry-level roles, it also finds that employers that employ migrant workers are more likely to be offering work experience and other initiatives such as internships and apprenticeships than organisations that don’t employ migrant workers.

Research revealed that 51 percent of organisations that employ EU migrant workers are more likely to report that their business has been growing over the last two years, with 39 percent of organisations that don’t employ migrant workers. This suggests that many employers, as they grow and expand their need particularly for lower skill jobs, may be relying more on migrant workers to fill vacancies.

Just as importantly, there is little evidence to suggest that employers are recruiting migrant workers because they are cheaper than UK born workers or because they require less training. Only 12 percent of employers said they recruited migrant workers because they have lower expectations about pay and employment conditions.

The research also explored the impact of the increase in migrant workers over the last ten years on the UK labour market and in particular youth employment. This found that some younger workers are likely to have found it more difficult to find work since migrants from the 2004 EU accession countries have had access to the UK labour market because thses migrants are typically older, more experienced and better qualified. Both groups are also disproportionately represented in low-skilled work.

However, the report points out that migration has only been one factor amongst many in relation to youth unemployment. Other drivers include an increase in the number of older workers, and welfare reforms which have increased the pool of working parents and former unemployment benefit claimants competing for roles against the backdrop of no employment growth in medium-skilled roles in recent years.

The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the labour market, is published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
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