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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