Why Employ European Union Workers?
The European Union (EU) is curently made up of 25 independent, democratic, member states. If combined they would represent the worlds largest economy by GDP, the seventh largest territory in the world by area and the third largest by population.
Passport controls have been abolished for most member states, and custom checks were also abolished at many of the EUs internal borders, creating to some extent a single space of mobility for EU citizens to live, travel, work and invest.
Poland and Latvia currently have the lowest standard of living and Turkey, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are officially recognized as potential candidates.
With millions of mobile workers and some countries with more opportunities than others, this has led to mass migration within and around the EU. What should employers think about when looking at recruiting and retaining workers from other EU countires?
From an Employers Perspective
According to new in-depth research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the study reveals that 75% of employers felt that European enlargement had been good for business, with migrant workers doing jobs under employment conditions that UK nationals are not prepared to accept.
Employers valued highly qualified migrant workers for low-skilled and low-waged work. They preferred benefiting from what they see as the work ethic and reliability of migrant workers to employing reluctant UK nationals who some described as lazy. Employers recognised that recruitment and retention difficulties were often the result of long, anti-social hours, high physical demands, low pay and status. But they claimed they still found it hard to attract UK workers when pay and non-wage benefits were increased.
Employers that dont currently employ any non UK staff need to see beyond recent immigration hype and media hysteria to tap into the needs of the European Union speaking workers and find mutual economic opportunity.
EU migrants need to made aware of advice services and other formal social services as they may need their help more than they would in their home country because they do not have the extended network of family and long-term family friends to rely upon. Some progressive companies have welfare rights workers to help them apply for national insurance numbers and to signpost to agencies with housing problems etc.
At the moment all migrants can access free English courses but as of September 2007 all EU migrants will have to pay for this privilege unless they are claiming benefits in the UK. Employment agencies have been known to tout for business by offering paid employment and free English lessons in a bid to attract EU workers to come to the UK. I agree with the government on this one, if the employers want English speaking staff, they should pay for it not me! They are getting hard working employees willing to work endless overtime and the nigh shift, the cost of English lessons are a small price to pay.
If immigrant workers are going to be fulfilled, motivated and productive, they need to live their values in the workplace, and feel they are valued and appreciated. They must be involved and experience that their contributions matter. Thus far EU workers may be considered an underdeveloped resource and employers would be wise to reassess their largest capital cost of labour through identifying ways in which these employees can reach their full potential, and thus contribute more effectively to output and profits.
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