Education to Work Transitions By Detours: The Experiences of Young Spaniards in Germany

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Susanne STEDTFELD, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Andreas ETTE, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Lenore SAUER, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Spain and particularly its young population are still suffering from the consequences of economic crisis. Youth unemployment is around 50% and pressurises a whole generation. A strained labour market results in a massive exclusion of young people who have just accomplished their vocational training or their university degree and seek to either entry or establish in the labour market. Therefore, a growing part of young Spaniards seeks for better opportunities in other European countries.

In theory, three context factors create a perfect situation for successful migration from Spain to Germany: Firstly, there’s demand in the German labour market. Secondly, formal barriers are low according to the fundamental freedoms of the EU. Thirdly, young skilled migrants exhibit ideal profiles for being integrated socially as well as in the labour market. But, in practice, a significant number returns to Spain within one year.

What happens in Germany? What kind of challenges do these young Spaniards experience? That is the crucial question we seek to answer in our presentation. In 2015 we conducted 30 qualitative interviews with Spanish nationals who were born between 1980 and 1990 and came to Rhine-Main Region in 2014 or 2015 for job reasons. The interviewees explain their motives and causes, also by drawing attention to their respective initial situation in Spain. They present and interpret the status passages of their professional development in transition between education and work, as well as the process of social integration. We found that pathways of coming to Germany can be quite different including their strategies and demands of social and labour market integration. Although belonging to an integrated social space like the European Union, perceptions of being “migrants” or “just being mobile” differ substantially. We can learn from their perspectives how Europe is performing in creating opportunities for futures we want.