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28th January 2021


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Having reviewed the latest CIPD/KPMG labour market survey that was issued this week, I'm disturbed by the news that demand for skilled migrant (non EU) workers has increased despite rising levels of unemployment, with more than a fifth of employers planning to recruit migrant workers in the first quarter of 2011.

I'm amazed that almost two thirds (63%) of UK employers report that non-EU workers have allowed them to increase productivity, with public sector employers more likely to report productivity improvements (66%) than private sector employers (50%).

"The introduction of the temporary cap on migration has had an impact on employers' ability to fill vacancies and improve productivity," says the report's author Gerwyn Davies. "It remains questionable whether the increase in the number of employer-related visas issued by the Government for the next year will be enough to address the projected increase in the demand for migrant workers.  

"We should not forget that the UK still has skills shortages in many key areas, nor should we forget that the number of non-EU workers amounts to the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands.  So while it is right to highlight our concern about rising unemployment, we should not overlook the benefits and invaluable expertise and experience that a relatively small number of non-EU workers bring to the UK economy.

"Keeping out skilled non-EU workers won't help unemployed people in the UK in the near term, but could have real and negative consequences for business and the public sector."

Figures show that in the UK, around one fifth of 18 - 24 year olds are out of work - something that is reflected throughout much of the EU. As the mother of someone who graduated in July with an excellent First Class Honours Degree in Environmental Hazards (majoring in Flood Risk Assessment and Management - now surely that's a growth area!), who won the prize for producing the best final year project and who since her internship finished in December has been unable to find any work at all - despite having glowing references and all the necessary people skills. I have to ask the question "Why?"

Why are we not training all our own people in the required skills, so we don't have this massive unemployment problem whilst buying in workers from overseas - and why are migrant workers able to increase productivity so dramatically?

We know what skills are needed and we know the levels of expertise required. And at one stage we used to be able to instil in our young people the desire to do the very best that they could - all the time - and that hard work, loyalty and commitment are important in the workplace. My daughter certainly knows it, so why doesn't everyone else's?

We're clearly doing something very, very wrong and the issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.



Jan Hobbs


25th February 2011

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