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Half of the Refugees in Germany Found Their First Job Through Social Contacts

DIW Weekly Report 34/35 / 2016, S. 414-421

Philipp Eisnecker, Diana Schacht

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In Germany, the majority of people tend to find work through friends, acquaintances, and relatives when they first enter the labor market or switch jobs. The same applies to immigrants and their offspring. Integrating refugees into the labor market is considered crucial to their overall integration into society, yet little is known about how they land their first jobs. The present paper attempts to bridge this gap by analyzing IAB-SOEP Migration Sample data on two reference groups comprised of individuals that came to Germany for different reasons: labor migrants and family migrants. The analyses show that roughly half of the refugees found their first job through friends, relatives, or acquaintances. Formal channels such as job advertisements and the Federal Employment Agency also played a key role. Refugees who found employment through personal contacts were generally less likely to have any knowledge of German and more likely to have had contacts in Germany prior to immigration. The findings also show that refugees who acquired work through informal channels found their first job faster and were more likely to work full-time compared to those who found their first job through formal channels.

JEL-Classification: J60;J61
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)