Occupational Classes of Immigrants in East-Germany

Monday, 11 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Oliver WINKLER, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
In Germany, it is well-known that there is a strong inequality concerning employment chances and occupational positions between the immigrant first and second generation and the non-immigrant population. Generally, these differences arise from depreciation of human capital due to the immigration process. In the long run and despite the “upgrading” of the German occupational structure, research has shown that immigrants remain in lower occupational classes. As this is true for ‘labor’ immigrants in West-Germany, the situation in East-Germany varies strongly. In the five ‘new’ federal states of the former GDR the immigrant population is differently composed with ethnic groups mainly originating from Poland, the former Soviet Union, Ukraine and Vietnam. Immigration in the GDR was mainly characterized by students or adults coming from socialist ‘sister states’ who received vocational training and qualification as well as contract workers. After reunification, ethnic German repatriates from the former SU and qualified immigrants came to East-Germany. Therefore, we expect less inequality in the occupational classes between immigrants and natives in East-Germany. Using data from the Scientific Use Files of the German Microcensus 1991-2011, results from multinomial regression models indicate similar chances for upper occupational classes between non-immigrants and first generation immigrants from Poland and former SU/Russian Federation even after controlling for qualification levels. Their descendants have even higher chances. However, this is not the case for first generation immigrants from Vietnam who face disadvantages. Furthermore, first generation immigrants from all of the studied ethnic groups are strongly overrepresented in the lower occupational classes compared to the non-immigrants. Over time, Vietnamese immigrants were the only group that managed to reduce their risk for lower occupational positions and to access middle occupational classes. Concerning inequality, we can conclude that occupational class differences in East-Germany are not as severe compared to West-Germany.