Policy Report

The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the UK labour market

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The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the UK labour market

Published September 2014

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This report aims to inform the debate about the impact of the increase in EU migrant workers on the UK labour market, and particularly on young UK-born workers. 

Although there is evidence of a more competitive labour market for young people seeking low-skilled, entry-level roles, our research has found that employers that hire migrant workers are also more likely to offer work experience, internships and apprenticeships – initiatives to help tackle the issue of youth unemployment. Employers who have turned to EU migrants to fill vacancies in recent years say they have done so because these recruits have brought the experience and commitment needed to support growth. 

The CIPD calls for improved links between schools and colleges and business to equip young people to compete for the jobs that employers are looking to fill, and for a review of skills policy to address the high levels of youth unemployment and low-skilled and low-paid jobs in the UK. 

The report is based on a wide range of evidence. This includes published data from the Office for National Statistics alongside data from the CIPD's quarterly survey of employers. The report also draws on five online focus groups of EU migrants and young UK-born workers and ten semi-structured employer interviews, four of which are summarised as case studies. 

Content of the report 

  • Foreword 
  • Migrant workers and the UK labour market 
  • Employer attitudes and trends towards the employment of migrant workers 
  • The views and experiences of young people and EU migrants 
  • Conclusions 
  • Employer case studies 
  • Methodology 
  • References 

Listen to the podcast The impact of EU migrant labour on the UK workforce 

View the infographic

Find out more about the CIPD's Learning to Work programme, promoting the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment.