German Companies Mainly See Refugees as Unskilled Workers
Nov 26, 2015
German companies see the greatest employment potential for refugees as unskilled workers. These are the results of a survey by the Ifo Institute published on Thursday. “41 percent of firms see significant potential for refugees to be recruited in their own branch as unskilled workers. But 59 percent rate their chances as narrow”, says Gabriel Felbermayr, one of the study’s authors. 37 percent believe that there is a potential for recruiting refugees as trainees, as opposed to 63 percent that do not. 22 percent of firms can imagine recruiting refugees in their branch as skilled workers, versus 78 percent that cannot. Only three percent of companies see leadership potential in the refugees, versus 97 percent that does not.
It is worth highlighting that 92 percent of survey participants cited a lack of language skills as a barrier to employment. 71 percent cited a lack of qualifications, while 59 percent mentioned labour law requirements and 32 percent reported the minimum wage as a constraint. “The survey finding regarding the minimum wage isn’t really surprising, since the question of adequate remuneration only arises for those jobs in which language, skills and bureaucracy barriers can be overcome,“ explains Felbermayr. The minimum wage in particular is considered a recruitment barrier in eastern Germany (55 percent), and especially in the distribution sector (62 percent).
Over 3,000 companies from manufacturing (49 percent), construction (25 percent) and distribution (26 percent) participated in the survey. 85 percent are located in western Germany and 15 percent in eastern Germany.
Publication (in German)
Michele Battisti, Ph.D.
Prof. Gabriel Felbermayr, Ph.D.
Prof. Panu Poutvaara, Ph.D.
ifo Center for International Institutional Comparisons and Migration Research