Tipping hiring conditions in young workers’ favour could have a detrimental effect on their long-term prospects, says Tom Walker
A policy allowing UK employers to favour British-born candidates over those from overseas could have a negative effect on the long-term prospects of young British workers, according to StuRents.com co-founder and director Tom Walker.
In an exclusive chat with Growth Business, Walker said that, although the move would give domestic candidates an advantage in the short-term, the “populist” policy may shelter young British workers from true competition and give them a skewed perception of the labour market.
“Whenever you put borders around a part of the labour market you create an unnnatural safety net for domestic candidates, which I do believe it would have a negative effect on British workers in the long-term,” he said.
Walker went on to say that such a move would “temporarily remove the competitive aspect” of the labour market – leading to a situation in which British workers were given a false sense of security from a skills perspective when framed against the backdrop of competitive international labour markets.”
Even if employers were allowed to choose domestic candidates as a matter of course, Walker doubts how effective the policy would be.
“Businesses want top talent, regardless of where it comes from. I would therefore be very surprised if any business did in fact take advantage of any such policy as you will always select your talent from the broadest pool of candidates possible,” he said.
“Artificially narrowing your selection pool, and therefore increasing the risk that you miss finding the best person for the job, is nonsensical.”
As a company that relies on being able to attract developers, restricting the availability of Non-domestic EU workers would negatively impact StuRents.com, according to Walker. He added that for start-ups and small companies access to developers from overseas is crucial as the large corporates can price them out of the market for the top domestic talent.
While accepting that workers coming from overseas can “normalise” the average pay for workers in the UK, he counters that the pricing for labour is also “set by supply and demand”.
Baxter Freight founder and self-styled “SME champion” Ian Baxter was also critical of Farage’s position. He called the concept of reserving British jobs for British people “nonsense”.
“Business success relies on getting the best people to do the best job- it’s a no-brainer,” he added.