Academic Literature

Immigrants Over-qualification in Germany – More a problem of over-education and less of over-skilling

So far, only limited evidence exists on skill utilisation among immigrants beyond over- or under- education. Our study tries to ll this gap by exploiting recent data of the BIBB/BAuA Employ­ ment Survey 2012, which allow for observing both educational and skill mismatch among work­ ers with (all their) formal qualifications attained outside Germany. We thereby focus on a sample of immigrant workers which is comparatively highly qualified, and which thus respre­sents a selective sample of the much larger group of migrants in Germany.

The results suggest that, to some extent, a waste of immigrants’ talents takes place in the Ger­man labour market. An immigrant status has statistically significant effects on both over-educa­tion and over-skilling, over and above the effects of human capital, socio-demographic variables and (in most studies not observed) skill measures. Our results suggest that immigrants’ over-qualification is more a problem of over-education and less of over-skilling.


If the above findings are validated, this might give reason for further research that focuses on firms’ recruiting and promoting processes. Equally, studies that take into account the barriers to attaining further qualifications in Germany would be valuable complements to the findings pre­sented here. From a policy perspective, policies like the Federal Recognition Act seem to hint in the right direction. Since this law has only been in use since 2012, it is not yet possible to say much about its effectiveness, especially regarding the prevention of possible mismatching. There is a yearly report on the monitoring of the execution of the Recognition Act, and it remains to be seen how well it is working.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at BIBB / Limited transferability of human capital across countries – the case of workers with foreign qualifications in Germany


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