British workers forced to compete wtih migrants for ‘hard to fill’ jobs

British workers are increasingly being forced to apply for ‘hard to fill’ jobs usually taken by migrant workers.


A research study out this week by research company Centre for Cities found that, in major cities, the recently unemployed were competing with migrant workers from the A8 accession states for work for lower-paid jobs.


Recruitment agencies, which six months ago predominantly sourced migrant workers to fill low skilled and badly paid roles, including cleaning, manufacturing and agricultural work, told Personnel Today that in recent months they have been “flooded” with applications from British workers.


Mark Sutherland-Fisher, the owner of Czech Match, said half a year ago he was lucky to receive one or two applications a month from British workers, but he was now receiving up to 10 a day.


“It went from being a trickle to a flood about last October. My company dealt almost exclusively with migrant workers until a few months ago to fill the jobs that British people wouldn’t do,” he said.


Rachel Pillai, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “The recession and recent increases in unemployment are taking precedence over factors such as job attractiveness, pay and conditions.”


The Centre for Cities report also found that some recruitment agencies operated ‘migrant only’ policies, restricting further the jobs available for British workers. However, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation insisted these were isolated cases and reminded agencies that to exclude British workers would be against the law.


Anne Fairweather, head of public policy, said: “There are fewer jobs out there and so there is more competition for jobs. Obviously things have shifted and maybe people have to shift their recruitment processes to reflect the people available in the community.”

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