Overseas Workers Plug Skills Gaps

Overseas Workers Plug Skills Gaps - The Borderless Workforce: 2008

Employers are increasingly relying on overseas workers to fill skills gaps, with 20 per cent of businesses now employing migrant workers compared to 12 per cent in 2006, a new report from Manpower has shown.

Overseas Workers Plug Skills Gaps - The Borderless Workforce: 2008

The Manpower report Borderless Workforce (525k PDF) showed that the UK is now the most popular country after the US to which global workers relocate.

“The UK has a widely recognised skills shortage which many employers are struggling with,”

said Manpower UK managing director, Mark Cahill.

“As pressures from an ageing workforce and low birth–rate grow, these shortages will become more apparent,” he continued. “The challenge is how to address the situation. Employers are looking to new labour sources – older workers, part–time workers and foreign workers – to fill these gaps.”

“It is important to ensure that you have the right recruitment and retention policies in place to attract, identify and hold on to those individuals who will make a difference to your business,” he added.

According to Manpower, roles undertaken by migrant workers include labourers, chefs, skilled tradespeople, administration assistants and personal assistants, as well as positions in the accounting, customer service and medical sectors.

“Migrant workers have helped employers to address both skills and labour gaps and are often very motivated,” said Confederation of British Industry policy adviser Guy Bailey.

“Migration can provide a short–term solution by filling shortages, but in the longer term the sustainable solution for business and society is to improve employment and skills levels in all parts of society,” he added.

“The CBI has been supportive of the Government’s policies – such as Train to Gain and the Skills Pledge – to increase skills levels, but employability is also about attitude. Employers want people who want to work and targeted support should deliver this,” advised Bailey.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) website has tips for employers recruiting overseas workers, including:

  • checking qualifications thoroughly
  • following up references
  • asking to see original documents if uncertain of copied documents.

For more information on employing overseas workers, visit the CIPD website

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