Managing transitions in European labour markets – the case of young Spanish migrants in Germany

Susanne Stedtfeld, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Andreas Ette, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Lenore Sauer, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)

Like other European countries Spain is still suffering from the consequences of a recent economic crisis, which severely strained regional labour markets. Against this background many especially young Spaniards seek for better job opportunities abroad – and come to Germany. By now the EU offers them a well-integrated social space and labour market due to important developments of recent Europeanization, like a high equivalence of qualifications and the freedom of mobility. The situation for successful migration from Spain to Germany seems perfect: On the one hand, in Germany the labour force demand exceeds its supply. On the other hand, young skilled migrants exhibit ideal profiles for fulfilling the requirements of the labour market and for being integrated socially. Despite these – theoretically – optimal conditions remigration within just one year has also been rising strongly without major improvement of the labour market situation in Spain. This development challenges conventional migration theory and seeks for answers regarding the experiences and expectations of young Spaniards in Germany and the challenges they face. How do they manage their transitions into the German job market? What are their strategies and what are their expectations? In order to answer our questions, 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. They were asked to explain their motives and expectations, which included the whole period starting from their respective initial situation in Spain to their actual situation in Germany. In this context they described the status passages of their professional development in transition between education and work as well as how pathways to Germany influenced their status passages. We found that pathways of coming to Germany can be quite different including their strategies and demands of social and labour market integration.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3