Kristina Lindemann, Irena Kogan
The role of language resources for labour market entry: comparing Estonia and Ukraine

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2013: 39, issue 1, pp. 105-123
ISSN: 1369-183X (Print), 1469-9451 (Online)

This paper explores how language proficiency influences the dynamics of labour market entry among young Russians and the native populations in two former Soviet Republics—Estonia and Ukraine. We use data from the Estonian TIES survey and the Youth Transition Survey in Ukraine to compare the speed of finding any first job with that of entry to the first higher-status employment requiring good communication skills, thus revealing the role of language proficiency in the job-entry process. The results from event-history analyses show that proficiency in the official Estonian language plays a pivotal role for labour market entry in Estonia, particularly for higher-status employment. In Ukraine, on the other hand, monolingual Russian-speaking youth do not experience any difficulties in finding high-status first employment, even though the official language of the country is Ukrainian. We do not find any positive effect of bilingualism in either of these countries.