Employers will need to improve pay and working conditions if they want to continue to attract workers from the European Union, a recent report from Resolution Foundation has revealed.
According to the report, migrant workers “played an important role in the UK employment story” over the past two decades, accounting for 60% of employment growth between 1996 and 2019.
The foundation said that a “rational response” from firms in shortage sectors would be to increase pay and conditions to attract and retain staff.
It added that progress on this front is “much needed”, given a strong relationship between migrant density and a poor record on labour market rights.
On average, foreign-born workers in every age group are reportedly higher-educated than their British-born counterparts, meaning large numbers are overqualified for the jobs they do.
However following the 2016 referendum, flows of foreign-born workers into the UK have reduced and that there appears to have been a large flow of European workers leaving the UK in the wake of Covid-19.
Industries such as food manufacturing, which employ a larger-than-average share of European workers in roles that fall outside the government’s list of eligible occupations for a skilled worker visa, have a higher-than-average turnover rate, are where pinch-points are most likely to occur.
The foundation concluded that as long as the UK is an “economically attractive” place to work relative to a home country or other potential host states, migrant labour will continue to flow.
Under the new immigration regime, more workers may find themselves outside of the rules, increasing their vulnerability to labour market abuse, according to the report.