Migrant Labour in London

London Essays – Issue 7: Work

Migrant Labour in London

London has long been a magnet for migrant workers.

One in three Londoners was born overseas and nearly 10 per cent of the population are from other EU countries. Certain sectors are more reliant on migrant labour than others, with civil servants and teachers most likely to be native-born, and hotel and restaurant workers most likely to come from overseas. Different sectors tend to attract workers from particular countries, but the pattern changes depending on when the migrants arrived (although it is likely that they currently work in the same sector as they did when they arrived). Irish migrants arriving before 1991 were drawn to construction but, from 2001–6, most were found in financial services. Following the financial crisis, however, construction again became the most popular occupation. Indians have long worked in restaurants and shops but, for those arriving since 2010, the tech sector has provided the most jobs. Earlier arrivals from Jamaica tend to work in health and social care; but this sector was overtaken by education in 2001, and by retail, food and drink in 2007.