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SECTION 2: KEY FINDINGS

Part 1: London's low paid workers

The research highlighted a number of key findings about the people employed in low paid work in London. Most notably, the vast majority of workers were migrants. Whilst earlier research has estimated that some 46% of London's 'elementary' jobs are filled by migrants (Spence, 2005), the current study suggests that the figure might in fact be far higher. Here, an overwhelming 90% of the low paid workers interviewed were born outside the UK, illustrating a very heavy reliance of this part of London's economy on migrant labour.

Furthermore, a significant proportion of these migrants were recent arrivals. This strongly suggests a hierarchy amongst migrants such that the most recent newcomers are concentrated in the lowest paid sectors of the labour market. One half of the respondents had arrived in the UK in the last five years (since 2001), while a further one-third (36%) migrated to the UK between 1991 and 2000. As such, three quarters of the workers had arrived in the UK in the last fifteen years. The overwhelming majority (92%) had migrated directly to London, rather than other parts of the UK, underlining the importance of London as an attractive location for migrant populations.

Country of birth has been noted as a key factor influencing labour market outcomes (GLA, 2005) and distinct patterns in relation to the migrants’ country of origin and ethnicity emerged. As shown in Table 2, Africa was by far the most common region of origin with one half of the respondents originating from African countries. Nigerians and Ghanaians, who form the two largest African communities in the UK, represented the highest proportion of workers, with 18% of respondents originating from Nigeria and 16% from Ghana. Other significant groups were from Latin America and the Caribbean (14%) (such as Colombia, Brazil and Jamaica), Eastern Europe (10%) (such as Bulgaria, Poland and Lithuania), and Asia and South East Asia (6.5%) (such as Sri Lanka and Mauritius).

Regions of Origin

No

%

Africa

169

50.1

Europe

65

19.3

Latin America and the Caribbean

46

13.6

Eastern Europe

32

9.5

Asia/South East Asia

22

6.5

Other

3

0.9

No response = 4

Total

337

100

Nigeria

62

18

Ghana

55

16

Britain

34

10

Table 2: Respondents’ Region of Origin

10

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