‘Good’ Bad Jobs? The Evolution of Migrant Low-Wage Employment in Germany (1985–2015)

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Torben Krings

In: Work, Employment and Society 0 (2020), 0, 0950017020946567


The article examines the evolution of migrant low-wage employment in the context of structural changes in the German labour market. By drawing on data from the Socio-Economic-Panel, it seeks to answer why low-wage jobs disproportionally rose among migrants since the late 1980s. It argues that while human capital characteristics mattered to some extent, institutional and organisational changes were more important to account for worsening earnings. When linking the findings to the broader debate about migration and labour market segmentation, several issues emerge. First, the extent of low-wage jobs is not fixed but shaped by historically specific segmentation patterns that may change over time. Second, whether less-skilled jobs are precarious and of low pay depend above all on the presence of inclusive labour market institutions and power relations between actors. Third, the growth of low-wage jobs cannot be considered independent of the available labour supply, including a rise in cross-border mobility.

Keywords: economic sector, institutional change, low-wage work, migration, segmentation
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