7 Very Good Reasons To Hire Refugees In 2019
There many reasons for UK employers to hire refugees. We’ve pulled together the seven most important ones and structured them under some key themes. So, start 2019 by doing something which will dramatically improve lives and your business.
Here are 7 good reasons to consider refugee employment programs this year:
- Improve business diversity
- Counteract Brexit skill shortages
- Refugees make motivated, loyal staff
- They bring language skills
- Increase staff retention
- Address societal challenges and keep your employees engaged
- It’s not as difficult as you might expect – be part of the #rethinkingrefugee movement
Improve business diversity
Increasingly on the agenda for modern businesses is the importance of diversity. Although diversity can cover many individual differences, ethnicity is a key one. Diversity is important to business because a mix of backgrounds, experiences and cultures brings together a range of varied viewpoints, and the conflict this creates is a positive one, leading to a rise in creativity, productivity and innovation.
The benefits do not end there. Businesses with diverse workforces have seen increases in productivity, growth and staff retention. Well-documented research by McKinsey in 2015 found that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform the national industry median, and therefore their competitors.
Counteract Brexit skill shortages
The UK’s impending exit from the European Union has undoubtedly created a skills shortage challenge in many sectors of the economy, which threatens to hold back our economic growth. Skills gaps are an increasing concern for many employers, who report that they are not reaching enough skilled candidates.
Harnessing the skills and experience of our existing refugee population can help counteract this. Contrary to negative stereotypes, refugees are often skilled, capable and resilient individuals who hold qualifications and practical experience across various areas of work. A research report for the Nuffield Foundation showed that 45% of refugees already held a qualification before coming to the UK, and 65% were either employed, self-employed or studying. Many of these individuals were already skilled professionals in their field of work in their home countries.
Refugees make motivated, loyal staff
Upon resettlement in the UK, many of these skilled professionals are keen to get back into work and provide for themselves and their families. This is backed up by research from the OECD, which suggests that refugees tend to be motivated to integrate quickly, both by improving their English and gaining employment.
Refugees bring language skills with them
Separate, but linked, to our Brexit skills crisis, the UK is currently suffering from a shortage of employee language fluency and literacy, which plays a vital role in our economic success in international export markets. One solution to this is to utilise the language skills of our refugee and BAME communities, who already come equipped with languages, many of which are from countries with emerging business markets that could be invaluable to British export.
With existing skills and experience, language skills, and the motivation to learn and succeed, it is clear refugees represent significant potential assets to businesses.
Increased staff retention
Once businesses employ refugees, they find that those new employees make very loyal staff. Research shows they have lower turnover and higher retention rates than other staff. If you invest in them, that investment will be rewarded for years to come.
Refugees are re-starting their lives and seeking stability, which leads them to gravitate towards roles with longer-term employment and career prospects. A 2018 report by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Tent Partnership for Refugees found that three-quarters of firms surveyed saw lower turnover rates for refugees than overall.
This retention rate can be enhanced by the employer’s efforts to accommodate and integrate refugees into the workforce. Working with a refugee employment specialist like ACH, which provides ongoing support to businesses and their refugee employees, reduces the risk of wasted time and money, protecting your return on investment.
Address societal challenges and keep your employees engaged
The issue of increased staff retention also applies to existing staff. People are increasingly looking to work for companies that have ethical operations, do great things for the world, and advocate for the things they care about. Modern employees increasingly want their employers to stand for something. They want to work for employers with a strong social purpose, where they can feel that they are contributing something positive back to society, as well as earning a wage.
The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of our times, with the UN reporting the highest number of displaced people globally since World War Two, with 68.5 million people forcibly displaced at the end of 2017. This makes refugee hiring a prime area where employers can lead the way in having a positive societal influence.
It’s not as difficult as you might expect
If an individual has the right to remain, they also have the right to work. Don’t be scared by cultural differences or your organisation’s lack of knowledge in this area – ACH can help. We provide refugee employment services and already work with a number of employers who come to us to access work-ready talent from communities others overlook.
To find out more, go to www.ach.org.uk/refugee-bame-recruitment-partnerships.