It has been a much-debated question for long. There is a stereotype saying that everyone migrating to the UK ends up cleaning and washing up, which is, of course, not entirely true. But still, there never was any data on what Hungarians in the UK do. At least until now.
The survey was made by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in Britain, according to Határátkelő blog. One of its problems is that it uses rough-and-ready data.
For instance, the survey claims that 81,000 Hungarians live in the United Kingdom, which is surely lower than in reality.
The British office deals only with the countries mentioned as the “EU8”. These are the former socialist republics that joined the EU in 2004: Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
1.3 million people from the EU8 live in the UK according to the statistics, mostly Polish. The data this survey uses is the average of the period between 2013-2015.
Most employees from EU8 work in distribution, accommodation and catering (225,400 people), which makes up the 4.4 percent of employees in these branches in Britain.
A little less (186,500) work in the processing industry, which makes 6.7 percent of the total manpower here.
What is the rate of the employees?
The data shows us that 80 percent of the EU8 citizens between 16-64 years living as residents in the United Kingdom (820,000 people) have a job. Interestingly, Hungarians have the best rates (84.3 percent), followed by the Polish (81.5 percent) and the Lithuanians (879.6 percent).
People coming from these eight countries made up 3 percent of the entire working population of the UK between 2013 and 2015.
What is the matter then?
If that is true, then the British economy has nothing to fear. Forecasts told recently that certain branches of the British economy will suffer the consequences of Brexit, some even telling that there will be a total collapse in certain fields.
There are two reasons for that. One of them is that EU8 employees probably make up even more than 3 percent, but many of them are not working legally.
The other reason is that some sensitive fields might employ even more Eastern European employees. It is the quarter of the Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Slovakian workforce that is employed in the production industry, who are opposed to the 10 percent of the population.
This also seems to be a fact in the case of the food industry, where a quarter of the labor force is given by EU8. So worries may be right, as someone has to do the less desirable blue-collar works as well.
Still, it is a mistake to think that only Eastern Europeans fill these jobs. About a third of the Czechs (31 percent) deal with financial business, while 83,200 people from EU8 work in public services, education and healthcare. This is a considerable amount of employees.
ONS emphasized that the branch of industry does not tell anything about the quality of the job. Not all Hungarians working in catering do only wash dishes, as many of them also play middle and senior managing roles.
Where do Hungarians work?
Let us see the rates of employees from the EU8 in each branch.
Most of the Polish work in catering and hotels (129,700 people), followed by the processing industry (126,000), the financial sector (67,900) and the other branches (191,400)
Among Hungarians, catering and accommodation is way up the top (27,900). 5,000 people work in both the financial sector and the processing industry, while 19,800 in the other branches all together, mostly construction industry and healthcare.
Not everyone does wash dishes
About a third of the employees coming from the EU8 have already worked in jobs requiring no qualifications.
That number is 11 percent among the whole British population, so Eastern Europeans surely are over-represented in these fields.
While there are obviously more EU8 citizens working in these fields, this rate is reversed among middle and upper leaders.
To sum up, this survey banishes some false stereotypes. It gives us a picture on how the people from the former socialist countries that joined the EU in 2004 work in the UK. Though it has some flaws, it is still clear that the majority of Eastern European employees do not work as janitors.
It is also interesting to mention that according to ONS’ survey, only 40 percent of the employees from EU8 are overqualified to their jobs.
Unfortunately, this might be because livelihood is more secure out there than at home.
Source: Határátkelő blog