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  • Two women and a man sit in front of computer monitors.

    Refugee employment rates are on the rise

    The integration of refugees into the labor market is regularly examined using data from “Living in Germany”. A recent study took a closer look at people who came to Germany between 2013 and 2020. The result: by 2020, the proportion of people in employment had risen significantly – to 55% for men and 17% for women.

    In addition, the proportion of those working as skilled workers increased, while the proportion of employees in unskilled jobs stagnated on average after three years. Increasingly, refugees are joining their company as skilled workers or switching to employment as skilled workers.

    However, there are still major differences between the sexes. Refugee women still perform much more unpaid care work than men, which inhibits their entry into the labor market and their chances of advancement. In addition to childcare and housework, care work also includes repairs and errands. Researchers found that if both partners in a couple with a refugee background are employed, the division of care work is more equitable. The so-called “gender care gap” (i.e., the gap in care work) is smallest when the woman has a higher professional position than the man. It is also smaller if the woman works at least as many hours as her partner. “Employment is the engine of equality,” stresses Prof. Dr. Cornelia Kristen, researcher in the research area of migration and integration at the Socio-economic Panel and professor at the University of Bamberg.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Geflüchtete in Deutschland immer häufiger erwerbstätig – auch als Fachkräfte

    SPIEGEL Online: Immer mehr Geflüchtete arbeiten

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Viele Unternehmen erkennen oft nicht die Fähigkeiten, die zugewanderte Menschen mitbringen (for subscribers)

    All results in the overview

    Foto by Arlington Research on Unsplash

  • zwei Migrantinnen sitzen an einem Tisch mit Stift und Papier und lachen

    Improved employment prospects

    Refugee women have a much harder time on the German labor market than refugee men – although their chances have improved over the years. This is shown by a new evaluation of the study “Living in Germany,” for which protection seekers who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2019 were surveyed.

    According to the study, the employment of refugee women has increased but remains low compared to men. While five percent of working-age women surveyed reported having a job in 2017, nearly 13 percent did so in 2020. “Women are slowed down by several factors,” says SOEP migration expert Adriana Cardozo, who analyzed the data. For example, they lack education and language skills. And traditional gender roles also played a role.

    Encouragingly, however, the number of young women participating in educational programs has more than tripled over the years. The number of women with intermediate and good language skills is also growing steadily.

    “Women with refugee experience can make a contribution to compensating for the labor shortage in Germany,” emphasizes Adriana Cardozo. The expansion of integration and language programs is a prerequisite, she said. These should be even better tailored to the needs of women, for example by offering childcare options.

    Further information

    Handelsblatt: Untersuchung: Fortschritte bei Arbeitsmarkt-Chancen geflüchteter Frauen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Employment opportunities of refugee women in Germany are improving despite starting at a disadvantage

    All results in the overview

  • Kinder in Klassenraum schauen zur Tafel mit dem Rücken zur Kamera.

    Unemployment: long-lasting effect on children

    Parental unemployment represents a major financial, social, and psychological burden for the entire family. In fact, it is remarkable how long and how strongly children are affected by unemployment. An analysis of study data shows that if, for example, the father of children between the ages of 6 and 9 is unemployed, they are 30 percent less likely to finish school later with a (technical) high school diploma. They are also less likely to graduate from university.

    Despite the large time gap between primary school age and the last school-leaving certificate, the children’s educational path is strongly influenced by their parents’ unemployment. “It therefore stands to reason that the intergenerational consequences of unemployment are long-lasting, intensify over the years, and thus persist into adulthood,” says Prof. Dr. Felix Weinhardt from DIW Berlin, “Children must receive more support in order to avoid the long-term effects of parental unemployment.” Currently, however, children’s educational success still depends highly on their parental home.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Arbeitslosigkeit der Eltern von Grundschulkindern beeinträchtigt deren Bildungserfolg nachhaltig

    All results in the overview

    Image by Taylor Flowe from Unsplash

  • Zwei Mädchen halten eine ukrainische Flagge ans Fenster

    One year after the start of the war: How are the refugees from Ukraine doing?

    How are the Ukrainians who have fled to Germany since the war began? A representative survey conducted as part of “Living in Germany” provides answers. According to the survey, it is mainly younger women and mothers with children and young people who have found protection in Germany. Most refugees have a high level of education: 72% of adults have a tertiary, mostly academic, education. 17 percent are in employment. And a high proportion (nearly 80 percent) plan to take up gainful employment in Germany.

    The researchers see these developments as a positive sign. Nevertheless, major challenges remain. For example, they say, mental well-being, especially among children and adolescents, is lower compared to other age peers in Germany. “We need to provide Ukrainian refugees with sufficient psychosocial counseling and care,” says Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP. The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Wie es den Geflüchteten aus der Ukraine in Deutschland geht

    All results in the overview

  • Frau steht an einem Pult und hält einen Vortrag

    Women in Management

    Women still make up just one in seven of all board members in Germany’s large corporations. But the good news is that women are catching up. Today, women are being promoted at least as often as men—if they’re working full-time. And in some companies, women’s chances of promotion are even higher. These findings came from a study by Berlin sociologist Katja Schmidt based on data from Living in Germany.

    According to the study, women are being promoted more often than they used to be, while men are being promoted less often. Looking solely at full-time employees, men and women are virtually tied: According to recently released data from 2020, around 7 percent of both men and women hold management positions. “But women are significantly less likely to work full-time than men, which again reduces their overall chances of being promoted to management,” says sociologist Katja Schmidt.

    Further information

    Frankfurter Allgemeine: Fortschritt für die Frauen (for subscribers)

    All results in the overview

  • Schöne brünette Frau in einem Hundezahnkaromantel an einem regnerischen Tag zu Fuß durch die Stadt

    Refugees from Ukraine feel welcome in Germany

    Since February 24, 2022, more than one million people from Ukraine have fled to Germany alone. Many of them are now actively participating in life in this country. This is shown by the first representative survey on the living situation of Ukrainians who have fled to Germany, which was conducted as part of the “Living in Germany” study. According to the survey, 17 percent of the refugees are already employed, half are attending a language course and 60 percent live in their own apartment. The refugee children attend schools and some also daycare centers. While most Ukrainian refugees plan to stay in Germany only temporarily, a quarter would like to live here permanently.

    The vast majority of respondents (76 percent) felt “fully” or “mostly” welcome in Germany upon arrival. Their intentions to stay, on the other hand, vary widely: 34 percent want to leave Germany after the war ends, 26 percent want to stay in Germany forever, 13 percent want to stay for several years or less, and 27 percent cannot yet make a statement. “Many refugees are currently still unsure whether they want to live permanently in Germany,” says Prof. Dr. Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP, who worked on the study. “However, we assume that the number of those who want to stay will increase if the war continues for a long time.”

    The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    ZEIT Online: Jeder vierte Ukraine-Flüchtling will dauerhaft in Deutschland bleiben

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Die meisten fühlen sich willkommen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Ukrainian refugees in Germany: Fleeing, arriving and living

    All results in the overview

  • Manager explaining with a staff member

    People in leadership positions

    Bosses often have more influence and are held in higher esteem, but they also bear more responsibility and are more often under stress than the rest of the workforce.People in leadership positions often have more influence and prestige but also more responsibility and stress than other employees. In terms of personality, they often differ from others even before taking the leap into leadership. Leaders aren’t born—they develop over time, often starting long before they take on a leadership role,” says Eva Asselmann,

    one of two psychologists who analyzed data from the study “Living in Germany” to find out exactly how people become leaders. Asselmann and her colleague Jule Specht analyzed data on nearly 2,700 leaders and 33,700 non-leaders

    and found that in the years before entering leadership, leaders are more extroverted, open, emotionally stable, conscientious, and willing to take risks than non-leaders. They also believe more strongly that they have control over their own lives, and they place more trust in other people.

    These characteristics gradually return to baseline levels after individuals take on a leadership role. But self-esteem continues to increase in leaders over the long term.

    Further information

    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Zur Führung wird man nicht geboren

    All results in the overview

    Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

  • junge Frau spricht mit einer Frau

    Mentoring programs make the new start easier

    So-called mentoring programs bring refugees together with Germans to support them in everyday life, in dealing with the authorities, and in finding jobs and childcare. A group of SOEP researchers took a closer look at these programs and also analyzed data from “Living in Germany.” They found that refugees in mentoring programs have more frequent contact with Germans and also participate more often in cultural and leisure activities. They are also more satisfied with their accommodation than others. Their language skills also improve.

    Further information

    Jaschke, Philipp, Lea-Maria Löbel, Magdalena Krieger, Nicolas Legewie, Martin Kroh, Jannes Jacobsen, and Diana Schacht. 2022. 2022-03-22: Mentoring as a grassroots effort for integrating refugees – evidence from a randomised field experiment In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48 (17), 4085-4105.

    Taylor & Francis Group: Mentoring as a grassroots effort for integrating refugees – evidence from a randomised field experiment

    Foto von Kelly Sikkema auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • Roboter mit Tablet

    Smart Machines

    When people hear the term “artificial intelligence” (AI), they often think of smart robots in a distant future. Yet many people are already using AI in their work today—but without knowing it. These are among the findings of a recent study published as a DIW Berlin Wochenbericht based on data from Living in Germany.

    According to the study, only 20 percent of those surveyed answered “yes” to the direct question of whether they had come into contact with AI at work. However, almost twice as many respondents answered “yes” to indirect questions about AI—for instance, whether they used functions such as speech recognition or automated image processing at work on a daily basis. This shows that many people are unaware that AI is already part of their everyday working lives.

    For many, the topic of AI is linked to the question of whether automation will eliminate jobs. “AI-based systems are being developed to replace some tasks that humans can do,” said DIW researcher Alexandra Fedorets, “they will take over some of the tasks, but by no means all.”


    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Artificial intelligence in Germany: employees often unaware they are working with AI-based systems

    ftd.de: Viele arbeiten mit KI, ohne es zu wissen

    All results in the overview


  • Woman caring for elderly gentleman with cane, she supports him and carries his shopping bag

    Low-income workers need supportive care services six years earlier

    New analyses based on data from the study Living in Germany show that people with lower incomes have a higher risk of needing supportive care and nursing services. Men at risk of poverty are likely to need care almost six years earlier than higher-earning men, while women need care around three and a half years earlier.

    Occupation also plays a role. On average, blue-collar workers need supportive care and nursing services about four years earlier than civil servants. In addition, men and women with high-stress jobs need supportive care and nursing services on average 4.7 and 2.7 years earlier, respectively.

    “In Germany, there is social inequality not just in income and life expectancy, but also in the risk of needing care,” says DIW expert Peter Haan, who worked with colleagues from the SOEP in conducting the study.

    Further information

    FAZ.net: Ärmere werden häufiger und früher pflegebedürftig

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Need for long-term care depends on social standing

    All results in the overview

  • Woman with an apron pushes a cart with towels

    Higher Wages

    The likely future coalition partners in the German government—SPD, Greens, and FDP—want to raise the statutory minimum wage to 12 euros per hour in their first year as governing coalition. This could benefit women in particular, as well as people working in retail, catering, healthcare, and building maintenance. These findings are the result of a study by researchers from the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) based on data from Living in Germany and the Federal Statistical Office.

    According to the study, 7.3 million people currently earn less than 12 euros an hour in their main job and another 1.3 million in a second job. Of these approximately 8.6 million people who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, around two-thirds are women.


    Further information

    Handelsblatt: Frauen, Einzelhandel, Gastronomie: Wer besonders von der Anhebung des Mindestlohns profitieren würde

    Hans-Böckler-Stiftung: Rund 8,6 Millionen Beschäftige verdienen aktuell weniger als 12 Euro in der Stunde – vor allem in Jobs ohne Tarifvertrag


    All results in the overview

  • older woman sitting at a table with a laptop

    Working in Retirement

    Some people can hardly wait to retire while others would never consider it. In fact, more and more people are continuing to work after retirement: While 3.3 percent of those over the age of 64 were still working in 2005, 7.8 percent were still working in 2019.

    But are people working in retirement due to financial need, as is commonly believed? Holger Schäfer, an economist at the German Economic Institute in Cologne, has come to a different conclusion based on an analysis of data from Living in Germany. If retirees were working because they needed the money, their pensions would have to have extremely low— but as Schäfer’s analysis shows, this is not the case.

    The results of other studies also suggest that financial motives play a subordinate role. “Previous studies have shown that people enjoy working and being in contact with others, and that this is more important to them than the extra money,” says Holger Schäfer.

    Further information

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW): Einkommen: Arbeitende Rentner haben überdurchschnittlich viel Geld

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Warum Rentner arbeiten gehen

    All results in the overview

    Photo Anna Shvets on Pexels

  • drei junge Erwachsene in einem Kurs

    Employed refugees with vocational qualifications participate more frequently in in-service language courses

    Good German language skills are a key factor for the successful and sustainable labor market integration of refugees. The participation of refugees in integration and language courses has increased sharply in recent years.. In the third quarter of 2019, more than 80 percent of refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016 had already taken part in such courses. his is shown by evaluations using data from the “Living in Germany” study, in which researchers from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) investigated which individuals also participate in a language course at the same time as they are employed.

    Language courses to date have mostly been geared toward acquiring German skills before taking up gainful employment. Only very few refugees are gainfully employed while attending a language course. Their share of all participants was 12 percent on average. The results also make clear that refugees with vocational training and refugees working in personal service occupations take language courses disproportionately often. This indicates a comparatively high need for German language skills in the related occupations.

    The researchers emphasize the importance of linking language acquisition, education and professional practice at an early stage in the form of in-service language courses. In particular, refugee women, who often have family care work to perform, could benefit from time-flexible course offerings that can be completed during working hours, but also from better childcare during language courses.

    Further information

    IAB: Erwerbstätige Geflüchtete mit Berufsabschluss nehmen häufiger an berufsbegleitenden Sprachkursen teil

    All results in the overview

  • Educator sits in hallway of a daycare center

    Overworked and undervalued

    Pre-school educators are essential, not just for families but for society as a whole, as almost everyone would agree. Nevertheless, pre-school educators still contend with difficult working conditions.

    According to a new study based on data from “Living in Germany”, 80 percent of pre-school educators feel they are underpaid. But it’s not just this feeling that creates stress: About 75 percent also report high time pressures and a heavy workload. Many also rate their chances of promotion as poor. In addition, around 70 percent complain about a lack of recognition from their superiors.

    “During the Corona pandemic, the stresses on educators have increased even further,” says DIW education expert Katharina Spieß, who conducted the study together with her colleague Ludovica Gambaro. Given that increasing numbers of parents were able to place their children in emergency daycare over the course of the pandemic, pre-school educators were responsible for approximately the same number of children during the pandemic as they were under normal conditions. Simultaneously, educators had the added burden of following hygiene regulations. The stress was compounded by worries about their own health.

    Further information

    RND (RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland): 80 Prozent der Erzieherinnen finden ihr Gehalt zu gering

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Acht von zehn Erzieherinnen in Deutschland fühlen sich durch unangemessenes Gehalt belastet

    All results in the overview

  • Jogger on beach

    People want to work less

    People in Germany would prefer to work less, even if it meant earning less. On average, men would prefer to work just 36 hours per week, as compared to 39 hours in 2007. Women would also like to work less: Recent data show that they would prefer to work 29.5 hours per week.

    A comparison of men’s and women’s preferred working hours shows a convergence in preferences over time. In 2000, women wanted to work nine hours less than men, and now just six and a half hours less.

    In the early aughts, people’s preferred number of working hours was still rising. This changed after Germany overcame a phase of major unemployment. These findings from the study “Living in Germany” were published in an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

    Further information

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: Deutsche wollen immer weniger arbeiten

    All results in the overview

  • Man in a closed restaurant

    Mini-job holders are among the biggest losers in the corona crisis

    The corona crisis has had significant impacts on workers in mini-jobs. In June 2020, for instance, regular employment fell by just 0.2 percent, while mini-jobs fell by 12 percent. Women were hit particularly hard by these job losses. An article published by Spiegel online presented research findings based on data from “Living in Germany.” “A reform of the mini-job sector is long overdue,” says study author Markus Grabka, one of the researchers on the SOEP team at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    Der Spiegel: Minijobberinnen in der Pandemie, Von 450 Euro auf null

    DIW Berlin: Beschäftige in Minijobs sind VerliererInnen der coronabedingten Rezession

    All results in the overview