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Title: Analysing the “migrant work ethic” – comparing managers’ perceptions of local workers and central and eastern European migrants in the United Kingdom
Authors: Hopkins, Benjamin A.
First Published: 12-Jan-2017
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Citation: European Urban and Regional Studies, 2017
Abstract: The 2004 expansion of the European Union saw over one million people from central and eastern Europe register to work in the United Kingdom. Early studies into this phenomenon found a highly qualified migrant workforce taking low skilled roles, and research in regions of high unemployment saw migrant workers viewed favourably by managers as compared to locals. Using a qualitative case study approach, this paper significantly adds to regional studies of migration to investigate comparisons of migrant and local workers in regions of low unemployment, where managerial views towards locals are not as negative. The paper finds that, owing to low levels of labour market power as a result of basic English language skills and problems of transferability of qualifications, migrants are finding new ways of signalling their higher productivity. These are low levels of absence and a willingness to work longer hours, frequently termed a ‘good work ethic’ by managers, and used to positively distinguish migrant workers even in regions of low unemployment. The paper then investigates what happens to the demonstration of this ‘work ethic’ over time, finding that these behaviours are less likely to be used as labour market power increases.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0969776416678653
ISSN: 0969-7764
eISSN: 1461-7145
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, SAGE Publications (UK and US). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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