Skilled Migrants in the German Labour Market – What Is the Companies' Perspective?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Alexandra MERGENER, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Germany
Tobias MAIER, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Germany
This paper focus the integration-chances of skilled workers in the German Labour Market in context of the demographic change, the anticipated shortage of skilled labour as well as new legal regulations entered into force in Germany in 2012.

Successful labour market integration depends to a great extent on the companies. With the so called Federal Recognition Act, the German Government published in April 2012 a legal claim to standardise procedures for the evaluation of foreign vocational qualifications. This should support both, the companies by ensuring the transparency of foreign diploma and consequently the immigrants by increasing their integration-chances.

In this regard, we analyse recruiting strategies of German firms in different industries when it comes to hiring skilled immigrants. To investigate the chances of immigrants, it is necessary to isolate the different influencing factors that are all suspected to lead to a successful recruitment.

But it is quite difficult to isolate the effects by means of quantitative sociological surveys, because treatment and control variables cannot be randomly varied as in an experiment. We therefore introduce a vignette study (factorial survey) during an online-interview. In this way, we present decision makers in companies several descriptions of applicants. The relevancy of specific characteristics of an applicant is judged by varying the description in the vignettes that are presented to the respondent. We can therefore control how nationality, vocational degree, language skills, etc. of the foreign applicants influence their hiring and – related therewith – their integration chances. Additionally, we focus on the influence of the experiences with the Recognition Act and of occupation specific skill shortages in Germany.

We implement this stratified random online-survey in more than 2000 companies in Germany. Based on this strong evidence we are able to present new data to inform about possible discriminations in the recruitment processes of companies.