New EU states can help plug UK skills gaps


Workers from the new EU member states can make an important contribution to the UK economy, according to a survey being carried out by the Institute of Directors.

Around six out of ten IoD members are set to report that workers from the ten new accession states could help to plug skills gaps in Britain. A similar number will say they would consider recruiting these workers for their own companies.

The interim figures were released to coincide with this week's IoD's Annual Convention.

Just under one third of IoD members currently do business with the ten new EU members. The Czech Republic and Poland are the most popular trading partners.

Commenting on the survey findings, the IoD’s Parliamentary and European Adviser, James Walsh, said:

"IoD members are gearing up for the challenges of enlargement. They recognise that workers from the new member states offer the strong work ethic and skills that we need to maintain Britain’s economic success."

The survey is also likely to show that the business community does not share the confidence of some politicians that adding new member states will make it more difficult for the EU to agree new regulations.

Two-thirds of respondents think that EU enlargement will increase business regulation.

"The notion that enlargement will make for a 'wider, not deeper' EU is being proved false," James Walsh added. "With enlargement now a done deal, the EU is still planning new burdens on business, not least through the new European Constitution."