The recent attention on skills, migration and off shoring in the CIPD/ KPMG Labour Market Outlook report reveals that the call for migrant workers has risen in line with enhancements made in the UK labour market within the last 12 months.
Nearly half (45%) of those employers surveyed (600) stated that their positions were difficult to fill with 21% commenting that they were taking on non UK residents for roles in engineering and 18% for positions in the IT and Accountancy/Finance sectors.
Consequently, 17% of respondents aim to employ non UK residents in the third quarter of this year. Within the last three months, 21% of those surveyed stated that they had taken on a migrant worker, of which, more than one third (37%) were recruited from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). The results also showed that over 50% of employees recruited in the financial sector were from outside the EEA.
The results also suggest a rise in offshore activity. Almost one in ten (9%) private sector organisations aim to offshore jobs within the last year to June 2011. Out of those who are planning to offshore UK jobs, 65% propose to offshore to India, 36% to China and 29% to Eastern Europe. The most popular roles outsourced by companies are call centres (55%), IT (51%) and finance (49%).
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD public policy adviser and author of the report, said: “The study highlights the complex juggling act the government now faces. The proposed introduction of a migration cap comes at a time when many employers are still struggling to fill skilled vacancies; despite the high unemployment rate.
“The training of local or British workers to fill skilled jobs currently occupied by migrant workers will not happen overnight. And despite our efforts to educate and train staff for shortage occupations, there is no guarantee that they will go on to progress in that career; as we have found with engineers.
“If a cap is to be introduced therefore, it has to be gradually phased in to avoid harming UK competitiveness. Employers running global operations will be forced to offshore skilled jobs to other countries if the right skills mix in the UK cannot be found.”
Malcolm Edge, KPMG UK Head of Markets, comments: “Our own research shows that UK businesses are increasingly optimistic about their prospects. In moving forward, businesses need the right people with the right skills. Increasingly, they are looking overseas to address this skills gap recruiting people to the UK or deciding to offshore both work and jobs.
If the Coalition government do decide to introduce a cap, they will need to work closely with business to ensure that there is a correct balance between investment here in the UK and abroad.”