Workforce nationality composition and workplace flexibility in Britain

Whyman, Philip B orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3926-1019 and Petrescu, Alina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7459-7714 (2014) Workforce nationality composition and workplace flexibility in Britain. International Journal of Manpower, 35 (6). pp. 776-797. ISSN 0143-7720

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– The purpose of this paper, with an organisational focus, is to offer a novel examination of the association between workforce nationality composition and workplace flexibility practices (WFPs), an under-researched topic with high potential benefits at microeconomic and macroeconomic level.

– British data are used, as the UK has experienced significant immigrant flows and has a relatively high level of labour market flexibility. The Workplace Employee Relations Survey 2011, sampling 2,500 British workplaces, offers for the first time data on workforce nationality. Via zero-inflated regressions, the number of non-UK nationals employed in a workplace is assessed against a wide range of numerical, functional and cost WFPs.

– There are significant links between WFPs and the employment of non-UK nationals, and these are distinct for non-UK nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) when compared to non-UK nationals from outside the EEA. The former are more likely to be in “good” employment, with job security, working from home, job autonomy and training. Yet, both types of non-UK nationals are more likely to be employed in workplaces making high use of causal contracts. The implications of these results are discussed.

– The paper addresses the need to research migration from a relatively new perspective of WFPs while also taking into account the diversity of non-UK nationals. The topic is of importance to organisations, as well as to labour market and migration policymakers. Timely results are of value in view of heightened interest in migration.

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