The impact of student and migrant employment on opportunities for low skilled people
This study looks at the impact of student and migrant employment on opportunities for low skilled people. It improves our understanding of the changing nature of low skilled work, and accounts for the attitudes and motivations of low skilled people and employers in one local economic area: the city of Coventry and the wider Coventry and Warwickshire sub-region. Following a mixed method approach of interviews, focus groups, secondary data analysis and a UK wide literature review, the study presents little evidence to support anecdotal suggestions of students and migrants displacing low skilled people from opportunities in the local labour market. Instead the study highlights the varying job search priorities and techniques employed by different groups of individuals when seeking low skilled work; and explores how far they match those of employers. The research considers the impact of student and migrant employment on three aspects of employability: the ability of lower skilled workers to find employment; to remain in employment, rather than cycling between paid work and unemployment; and to progress within work, for example through engaging in training. It also illustrates the importance of the local economic and demographic context when seeking to promote employment and progression in work amongst low skilled people. In essence, this study represents a valuable contribution to the policy debate around creating a sustainable market for skills that can support economic growth and individual progression for all.