Understanding the perception of the ‘migrant work ethic’
journal contributionposted on 15.08.2017, 09:19 by Chris Dawson, Michail Veliziotis, Benjamin Hopkins
Over the last decade, the UK has experienced unprecedented increases in migration associated with the 2004 A8 expansion of the European Union. These migrant workers have been praised by managers in the UK, who have frequently stated that they perceive these workers to have a strong ‘work ethic’ when measured on aspects such as absence from work rates. This article examines this perceived migrant ‘work ethic’ by analysing worker absence data from the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the period 2005–2012. Regression analysis reveals that when A8 migrant workers first arrive in the UK, they record substantially lower absence than native workers, but that these migrant absence levels assimilate within two to four years. If employers use this information to make hiring decisions, this may have negative implications for native workers, but, importantly, only in the short run.