UK 'failing to recruit innovative overseas workers'

11 Apr 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Research has suggested that the UK is failing to keep up with its international counterparts when it comes to attracting the best employees.

Conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the study found that migrating innovators are most likely to go to the US, Canada or Australia. The UK and its European counterparts do not fair so well in these stakes.

The paper is the first to look at internationally comparable data concerning the global mobility of innovate workers and the reasons behind their choice of destination country and, while it showed that the UK had a less than favourable position when it comes to attracting international talent, Britain doesn't fair so badly when it comes to attracting talent from closer to home.

Merja Kauhanen, research coordinator and an author of the research, explained that data for the UK demonstrated that new EU member state immigrants have a higher likelihood of employment in the UK than that of even native workers.

She remarked: "We detect interesting differences among the host countries in how much new member state immigrants' labour market position deviates from that of the similar natives and other immigrant groups.

"These differences can partly be explained by the level of these immigrants' host-country-specific skills, including language skills and the institutional differences among these countries."

The confirmation that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to attracting employees that require UK work permits suggests that the country's immigration system could be playing a role in discouraging potential innovators. Indeed, the study hinted towards this, noting that in order to balance out distribution of innovative migrants across the globe, future immigration and integration policies need to be designed with the causes of the relative disadvantages of new member state immigrants in the host countries in mind.