Report

Immigrants in EU – Second-generation outperform natives on the labour market but …

Second-generation migrants with an EU background are more likely to be employed and in high-performing positions, such as managerial roles, than first-generation migrants – and even outperform natives in terms of employment rate. Having a European background plays a significant role: 81% of second-generation migrants with at least one parent born in the EU are in employment, compared to 74% of second-generation migrants with a non-EU background. Overall, first generation migrants are more likely to be in employment than natives in several Member States, as most move in search of work. Again, European background makes a difference as just two-thirds of first-generation migrants with a non-EU background are in employment, 13% below the native population.

Key findings

In this study, workers with a foreign background include first-generation migrants (people born outside the country where they reside, whose parents were not born in that country either) and second-generation migrants (people born in the country where they reside, with one or both parents not born in that country)

  • The findings of this study suggest that your birth place, or that of your parents, affects many aspects of your working life. Having a foreign background has a negative influence on workers’ employment prospects, the types of job they get and their working conditions. This picture can change considerably, however, depending on many factors, such as what aspect of working life and which sex we look at. Being a first- or second-generation migrant is a decisive factor in many respects.
  • In terms of employment,first-generation migrants are performing better– they have higher employment rates than natives in almost half the Member States, the reason being that the main objective of their move to another country is usually to take up employment. Employment of second-generation migrants is lower than of natives in most Member EU origin upends this statistic, because the highest employment rate in the EU as a whole is found among second-generation migrants of EU origin. Overall, workers with a foreign background are more likely to be unemployed than natives in a majority of countries.
  • In many other aspects of work,second-generation migrants out perform the first generation and show positive labour market integration. Second-generation migrants are more likely to occupy high-skilled, high-paying jobs and are overrepresented in management (and professional jobs in the case of males) compared to natives and the first generation. On several measures of working conditions, they are close to native workers – similar percentages work in the public sector, for instance. In other areas, however, they continue to struggle, experiencing poorer working conditions than even first-generation migrants.
  • First-generation migrants are more likely to workin the poorest-quality jobs and are strongly overrepresented in elementary occupations – jobs such as porter, caretaker, delivery worker and cleaner. They are less likely to have a permanent, full-time job than native workers, while they are more likely to feel job insecurity and to have difficulty making ends meet.
  • Particularly among workers with a tertiary education, the jobs obtained by workers with a foreign background are not always commensurate with the level of education they have attained. This is reflected in the fact that, in most EU countries, first-generation migrants are more likely than natives to consider themselves to be overqualified for the jobs they hold. Language barriers and a lack of recognition of skills and qualifications are the likely reasons behind the poor match between human capital and occupation.
    The labour market disadvantage faced by women is exacerbated by having a foreign background.
  • Higher shares of workers with a foreign background, particularly first-generation migrants, report experiencing discrimination linked to race, religion and nationality compared to natives. Both among higher and lower earners, experiencing discrimination based on nationality and race is linked to poorer working conditions and difficulty making ends meet.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Second-generation EU migrants outperform natives on the labour market | Eurofound

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