Germany's Federal Employment Agency / Photo: picture-alliance
Germany's Federal Employment Agency / Photo: picture-alliance

More men than women migrants are entering paid employment in Germany, according to government figures. The percentage of unemployed migrant men who got jobs has increased significantly in the past three years, while the situation for women has remained consistently poor.

A report on Sunday in the Bild newspaper cites figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA), showing that the percentage of jobless migrant men who were employed almost doubled between April 2016 and April 2019. The percentage of migrant women moving into employment remained almost unchanged.

The BA says that in April this year, 7.7 percent of unemployed male migrants found employment or apprenticeship training places. Their actual numbers rose from 24,000 in 2016 to 118,000 in 2018.

By contrast, only 1.4 percent of women migrants went from being jobless to employed, increasing very slightly over the three year period. This translates as an increase from 7,000 women entering the workforce in 2018 to 11,000 in 2019.

The figures are based on data about migrants from the eight main countries of origin for asylum seekers and refugees. Jobseeker in a headscarf  Photo  DWSiham Ouchtou

Reasons for women's exclusion

Labor market researchers suggest that the disparity is partly due to the traditional roles and structure of the family in some migrant families, many of whom come from Muslim countries. A recent study by the German Institute for Employment Research (IAB) says that these dictate that the man is the breadwinner while the woman's role is in the home, according to the news agency, dpa.

Other studies show that discrimination against migrant women is a contributor to the gap between access to the labor market for migrant women and men. According to the umbrella organization for migrant women in Germany, DaMigra, women refugees and asylum seekers "are often subject to multiple forms of discrimination in relation to employment." The national Anti-Discrimination Agency says that some employers in Germany wrongly believe that they are entitled to deny women the right to wear a headscarf, effectively excluding many Muslim women applicants.

Germans more likely than migrants to get jobs (Institute for Employment Research)

  • Among Germans, there is almost no difference between the percentage of unemployed men and women moving into the workforce, which is more than eight percent for both.
  • The overall unemployment rate in Germany is 3.2 percent (March 2019).
  • 13 percent of "foreigners" in Germany are officially unemployed (February 2019).
  • 50.2 percent of foreigners are in employment.
  • 31.7 percent of foreigners who have fled from war and conflict zones are in employment (Feb 2019).


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