Migration and productivity: employers’ practices, public attitudes and statistical evidence

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Summary & aims

This research was carried out between 2012 and 2013 and included case studies of employers, focus groups with the general public and statistical analysis. It was carried out with funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Unbound Philanthropy and NASSCOM.


The findings

The research found evidence of a positive and significant association between increases in employment of migrant workers and labour productivity. It found that recruiting from outside the UK had allowed employers to fill skilled and specialist roles and enabled some organisations to expand. Employers reported that migrants' skills are often complementary to, rather than substituting for, those of UK born employees. A number of employers said they need people with international experience who can 'think global'. The research also found that employees accept the need for skilled migration and have benefited from working alongside migrants, while expressing some concern for job opportunities for the UK born.


The report, which includes policy recommendations, was launched at a seminar on 5th November at NIESR. In addition to the final report, the team produced a number of blogs, including for Pieria, LSE Politics and Policy, British Future, Huffington Post, Barrow Cadbury, Information Daily and Real Business: