More work, less money: Hungarian workers’ situation in the UK
Researchers at Oxford University conducted a study on the situation of young EU migrant workers in the UK, hvg.hu reports.
Eastern Europeans, including Hungarians, work more for much less money and do jobs British people cannot or do not want to do. They are often more qualified, but rely less on welfare than UK citizens. Yet the argument does not change: are they not just taking jobs away from British people?
The study focuses on people aged 24-30, since 60% of the immigrants fall into this category. Further classification puts Hungarians in the group called Central-Eastern Europe, comprising of the Eastern section of the EU.
Firstly, the study found that employment rate among Eastern Europeans working in the UK is 83%, while among British people it is only 74%. Only 12% of the foreigners are inactive – unable or unwilling to find work – while this is the case among 18% of British citizens.
26% of Eastern European immigrants work in the manufacturing industry; for British people this number is only 9%. This data shows that foreigners can compensate the weaknesses of the British economy and that they are not stealing jobs from British citizens. Another area in need of workers is the construction industry, which employs only 7.6% of the British.
The question is whether Eastern Europeans constitute a significant number in these fields because they are willing to work among worse conditions or because British people can rely on welfare instead of taking more menial jobs, thus leaving them for foreigners.
While the British work an average of 40 hours a week, Eastern Europeans work one hour more, and every tenth person is only employed on a fixed-term contract, so their future is less secure.
The data shows that even though Eastern Europeans are often more qualified than others in their field they only earn 60% of what British people do, in the same jobs, many of whom are often less qualified. In comparison, workers from the south of the EU earn 91%, and those from the most developed countries, such as Austria, Finland, Denmark or Germany, earn 122% of British people’s salary, making even more money than UK citizens.
The study does not address the question whether immigrants earn less because of discrimination or because they cannot compete with the Western European workforce in Britain.
Copy editor: bm