New EU Immigrants are solution to skills shortage

View Latest News Publish Date: 2-Jun-2005

New EU Immigrants are solution to skills shortage

Home Office figures and the Department of Work and Pensions study of people from new EU Member States coming to work in the UK is supported by evidence from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that EU migrants are benefiting employers and the economy. CIPD research shows that employers are reliant on migrant labour to fill professional and skilled trade vacancies, highlighting the challenge for policy makers in framing the new legislation on immigration promised in the Queen's speech last month.

The CIPD's quarterly Labour Market Outlook, which reports the results of a survey of 1,300 employers, reveals:

  • 27% of employers intend to recruit from abroad in this economic quarter;
  • The dominant reasons for recruiting from abroad given by employers are a shortage of candidates with the required experience (59%) or the required skills (56%);
  • 18% also highlight a greater level of commitment and willingness to work than UK based jobseekers, with only 5% citing lower wage costs;
  • 56% of employers recruiting from abroad are looking to fill professional (48%) or skilled trade (8%) vacancies; 19% are filling manual vacancies, and less than 5% are seeking to recruit to unskilled vacancies.

Dr John Philpott, Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, commenting on the implications of the research for the government's proposals, said:

"Any efforts to improve the management of the migration system must take great care to ensure that the legitimate needs of employers are met, while also securing the wider interests of the economy and society. Our research shows that more than one in four employers are planning to recruit from abroad in the current quarter - highlighting the real need for migrant workers to fill vacancies.

"A flexible assessment system, as seems likely to be brought forward by the Government, should offer comfort to the many employers forced to look abroad to fill professional and skilled vacancies. There is a false impression that migrant workers are predominantly being shipped in to fill low skill, low wage jobs, but the reality is that it is professional and high skill vacancies that are fuelling the international search for labour. However, if the system is set too rigidly there is a danger that employers will find themselves falling behind international competitors due to a shortage of the people needed to deliver business growth. Policy makers must make sure that they do not allow efforts to address public concerns about migration to result in legislation that will damage economic growth."

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