Inclusion of a diverse workforce in the UK: The case of the EU Expansion

Benjamin Arthur Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this research paper is to examine the integration of an increasingly diverse workforce in the UK following the EU expansion of 2004 to incorporate the accession countries of Central and Eastern Europe, at a time of increased migration from other areas of the EU such as Portugal.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents data from five case study companies. The key methods of data collection were 88 semi-structured interviews coupled with lengthy time spent on observation at each company, leading to an ethnographically-informed method.

Findings – The key contribution of this paper is to analyse the relationships between migrant workers and the British workers they work alongside in the context of the EU expansion. It shows how low levels of English language skills lead migrant workers into low skilled roles, and that in the workplace this leads to hostility from British workers. However, as migrant workers had mainly sought employment through an agency, the case study companies actually accentuated differences between workers, and this paper examines why they act in this manner, and analyses the effects this has on workplace relations.

Originality/value – This paper provides an original contribution to the equality and diversity literature as it analyses workplace relations in the context of the EU expansion of 2004. In addition to providing new empirical data for academics, it will also be of value for policy makers, particularly with regard to legislation relating to agency work, and also to management practitioners who have a diverse workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-390
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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