Class Background, Mental Wellbeing and Labor Market Aspirations of Young Syrian Refugees in Germany

Hans Dietrich, IAB

In 2015 around 1.1 million asylum seeking people arrived in Germany: young people from Syrian are the major group (37%). These people typically experienced forced migration by the Syrian civil war. Most of the young Syrian refuges have not finished education. However, a majority of the Syrian immigrants has already attained a high level of degrees within the Syrian educational system. However, especial when marketable skills are considered, these people are insufficient prepared for the German labor market, which suffers from a significant shortage of qualified workers.

As the young refugees are just at the beginning of their integration into German society and the labor market, they have to decide between continuing general or vocational qualifications. Alternatively, the refugees may prefer entering the labor market without additional educational attainment. In core, this paper explores the labor market aspirations of young Syrian refugees at the beginning of their integration into German society and the labor market. Key questions are, do young Syrians refugees favor entering the German labor market without additional educational attainment or do they prefer to continue and to upgrade their educational qualification? Secondly do they consider participating in vocational training (German apprenticeship training), which prepares for the German labor market or do they prefer access to academic studies?

A unique and new panel data from the IAB WELLCOME-study is employed, delivering data from 2.700 young Syrian asylum seeking migrants, which have arrived in Germany in the years 2015 and 2016.

First results confirm class effects of social origin on educational and labor market related aspirations. However, the way how individuals were able to manage the migration to Germany moderates the educational and labor market aspiration. Additionally, individuals’ health status affects individuals educational and work related aspirations, moderated by class background and educational degree, already attended.

Presented in Session 31: Forced Migration: Family Transitions, Health and Vulnerability