Immigrants’ Career Changes in German Organizations

Research question/goal: 

This project investigates migrants’ career trajectories over their working lives. Although it is well known that migrants fare economically worse than natives, the mechanisms are not well understood for all points of their careers. Studies show that foreign educational and professional qualifications tend to be falsely recognized, downgraded, or not recognized. However, migrants who find employment enter organizations that subsequently allow them to acquire firm- and occupation-specific skills and knowledge. This project takes a career-focused approach that aims to scrutinize the degree to which these competencies aid migrants’ economic integration. It will examine migrants’ job transitions from both individual and organizational perspectives. First, it analyses migrants’ labour market access from the firm side by using data containing information on job vacancies, job postings, and the firm-specific hiring processes. Second, it uses the Linked-Employer-Employee-Data of the IAB (LIAB), a panel dataset, to analyse individual career changes within and between establishments. This approach captures the effect of individual-level traits such as education, age, gender, and prior working experience along with firm-level traits such as firm age, industry, size, and structure, asking how each of these affects migrants’ work trajectories. This project has implications for the integration of immigrants, organizational strategies, and the larger economy.

Current stage: 

In 2021, the project team prepared a grant proposal, in the course of which the project gained conceptual and empirical precision. This preparation involved extensive exploratory analyses and the adaption of novel measurement techniques for career patterns and workplace transitions in the LIAB dataset. The resulting proposal was recently approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for three years of funding, and a doctoral researcher has joined the project team.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
DFG
Duration: 
2019 to 2025
Status: 
ongoing
Data Sources: 
Linked-Employer-Employee-Data of the IAB
Geographic Space: 
Germany

Publications