Companies favour foreign workers over British applicants because they are more skilled and have a stronger work ethic, a leading business chief has said.
British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost was responding to a speech by Iain Duncan Smith in which the work and pensions secretary called for firms to "give our young people a chance".
In a keynote speech in Madrid, Mr Duncan Smith appealed to companies to recruit more British workers instead of employing foreign immigrants.
But Mr Frost said: "They (businesses) expect young people to come forward to them who are able to read, to write, to be able to communicate and have a strong work ethic," he said. "Too often that is not the case and there is a stream of highly able Eastern European migrants who are able to fill those jobs."
Mr Duncan Smith's speech also prompted lawyers to warn that companies who opted to choose British workers over foreign workers could face racial discrimination claims.
CBI director for employment policy Neil Carberry said: "Employers should choose the best person for the job. The challenge is to ensure that more young Britons are in a position to be the best candidate."
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"This is a dreadful indictment of our education system. I agree that many young people seem to have little work ethic, though that must also come from home life not just education. I do not agree that foreign workers have the same command of english as 'native' speakers which can be particulaly relevant in healthcare, especially local dialect terminology which patients tend to use when stressed/embarrassed. Not easy" – Name and address withheld
"Dear Mr Duncan Smith,
As the businesses are saying ..they need willing , able and "a strong work ethic" employees ... i have worked in retirement homes / hospitals and especially on night duty ...mostly foreigners on duty ... i asked why? answer given " we (british young) like to go out at night" ..another incidence was ... why so few British carers in retirement homes? answer was " we don't like cleaning old people, especially with double incontinence"...who are to care and clean the British old people?...some even in their private homes? ... young foreigners are willing to work in whatever position is offered as long as it's good honest earning...in the council...young british youth will not work as dustmen , very lax attitude... foreigners do not mind even though they are higher qualified to do better work.... british youth need to be given motivation and an incentive to "force" them to earn a living , instead of indefinite benefits .. i have seen those on benefits have their nails done (£20-30) per application lasting about 3-4 weeks ... hairdressers £30 ... change clothing every season to be in fashion ...eat regularly at McDonalds/KFC and even though being at home, have ready-made meals... that's an expensive lifestyle and a luxury to foreigners... who use that kind of money to educate kids back home" – Sandy, Hertfordshire