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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article27 January 2020European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

How does your birthplace affect your workplace?

We can’t choose where we’re born or what countries our parents come from. So it’s interesting to consider how these two factors might influence our future careers. The latest policy brief from Eurofound addresses this very issue.

How does your birthplace affect your workplace?

The study explores how having a foreign background (i.e. being from another country) can have an impact on people’s employment prospects. It looks specifically at two types of foreign workers:

  • First-generation migrants (people born outside the country that they live in, whose parents were not born in that country either);
  • Second-generation migrants (people born in the country where they live, but whose parents were not born there).

The study’s main findings are based on data from the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey and include the following:

  • Your birthplace, or your parents’ birthplace, can affect many aspects of your working life. These include your employment prospects, the types of jobs you get and your working conditions.
  • First-generation migrants are doing well in terms of employment. These migrants have higher employment rates than natives in almost half the EU Member States (although it’s important to note that the main reason most move to another country is for work).
  • Being a second-generation EU migrant is good news when it comes to finding a job – they have the highest employment rate in the EU overall! Second-generation EU migrants are also showing positive labour market integration.
  • First-generation migrants are more likely to hold ‘elementary’ occupations (i.e. porter, caretaker, delivery worker, cleaner).
  • Second-generation migrants are more likely to occupy high-skilled and high-paying jobs.
  • Migrants sometimes struggle to find jobs that match their education levels. Language barriers and a lack of recognition of skills and qualifications from another country are seen as the main reasons for this, and it’s a challenge that tools like the European Qualifications Framework are helping to overcome.
  • Migrants are more likely than native workers to report that they have experienced discrimination and gender inequality. This is an area that initiatives like the European Pillar of Social Rights are working to improve.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) is an EU agency that provides knowledge to assist in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies.


Related links:

How your birthplace affects your workplace policy brief

European Qualifications Framework

European Pillar of Social Rights

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)


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