Employment Mobility of European Doctors in Germany: The Importance of Occupational Setting.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Regina BECKER, Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM), University Bremen, Germany
The EU constitutes a unique opportunity for its citizens to be mobile beyond national borders without formal restrictions. This implies a promise of an improvement in an individual’s occupational situation in the context of employment-related mobility. Especially high-skilled are assumed to move more freely within the EU whilst not facing barriers as they usually possess more “transnationally valid forms of cultural capital” (Weiss 2005: 716), making upward mobility more likely. However, even this group face difficulties – proving the ‘frictionless mobility’ assumption wrong (e.g. Ryan and Mulholland 2014). Nevertheless, we still know little about the employment mobility of high-skilled intra-EU movers.

This paper aims to diminish this gap by observing employment mobility of EU medical doctors in Germany as an intriguing example of high-skilled intra-EU movers. It builds on previous research that traces career mobility of immigrants measured by comparing the ‘last job before moving’ to the ‘first job upon arrival’ and the ‘second/current position’ (e.g. Chiswick et al. 2005, Favell and Recchi 2011). This paper however, emphasizes that employment mobility is strongly shaped by profession-specific factors such as labor shortages and professional regulations/requirements. The central research question is; to what extent are European physicians able to improve their occupational situation through geographic mobility and which factors influence their success.

Building on previous approaches of skill transfer and human capital, this paper develops hypotheses that consider the setting of the medical profession and its implications for European doctors in different regions of Germany. Based on detailed original survey data (Teney et al. 2017), it adds to the current research on European mobility with an in-depth analysis of one professional group in a specific context going beyond a class scheme approach. This further enhances our understanding of the workings of an integrated European labour market.