Immigrants preferred to school leavers

Updated: 
Young immigrant labour is not just cheaper but better qualified and experienced. And British school leavers are being pushed to the rear of the job line because of it, a new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey claims. And the CIPD says the trend will continue, with the 16-24 age group hardest hit.


Skills over background

This new CIPD survey is based on more than 1,000 employers across both private and public sectors. Demand for migrant workers has now increased to a record high, with a quarter of employers now planning to hire migrant workers in the third quarter of 2011.

It may be easy to moan about the situation, especially if you're young and jobless. But put yourself in an employer's position: do you hire someone British and inexperienced for the job? Or do you hire someone better qualified, willing to work for the money you're offering?

Ask this too: do most British employers really care if the family of their workforce live in Warrington - or Warsaw? For most, it's a no-brainer. You hire the worker, not their cousins or parents (though some of this probably goes on too).

Unemployable

The CIPD says in response to the annual cap on non-EU migrants, more employers will hire EU migrant workers (34%) than upskill existing workers (23%) or recruit graduates (18%). Almost one in ten employers (8%) say they will offshore jobs abroad.

"Youth unemployment looks set to rise further amid employer concerns about the employability of young people," says Gerwyn Davies, the CIPD's public policy adviser.

"The migration cap is stemming the flow of skilled non-EU migrant workers on the one hand, but increasing the supply of EU workers with the other, which highlights the relative ineffectiveness of the cap in bringing net migration levels down."

Doing it for themselves

Davies adds that too many young people in the UK simply don't have the skills or qualifications they need. "The Government therefore needs to redouble efforts to ensure the education and skills system is fit for purpose to ensure young people can find a foothold in an increasingly competitive jobs market."

But is it always down to government to create footholds for young people? What about young people creating footholds, with some help and support, for themselves? That's a question the government will never raise directly, for all the obvious reasons.

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