Potential work experience as protection against unemployment: does it bring equal benefit to immigrants and native workers?

Jacobo Munoz-Comet, Universidad Nacional de EducaciĆ³n a Distancia (UNED)

This article studies the beneficial return from potential work experience in preventing job loss, and seeks to explain whether its capacity for protection is different for immigrants compared with native workers. Logistic regression models are calculated from panel data of the Spanish Labour Force Survey between 2008 and 2010. Results indicate that for some foreign-born groups the inequality with respect to natives grows over time. Whereas for Spaniards increased years in the labour market reduce the risk of becoming unemployed, Africans, Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans with more time in the labour market experience hardly any advantage when compared with their fellow immigrants. Although the ethnic penalty is slightly reduced after taking into account socio-demographic differences, the lower return is mainly explained by employment factors. Foreign-born workers are permanently over-represented in low-skilled and non-standard jobs where potential work experience does not result in more protection. The access through the bottom of a segmented labour market has prevented immigrants becoming upwardly mobile to more stable occupations. These positions would have provided them with protection against unemployment during the economic crisis, in the way that they have done for native workers.

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Presented in Session 83: Migrants on the labour market