How do refugees use their social capital for successful labor market integration? An exploratory analysis in Germany

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Using Germany as an example, this qualitative study explores how refugees use their social capital within and outside organizations to enter their host countries' labor market. Following a grounded theory approach, we interviewed 36 Syrian refugees who had already secured employment in Germany. We aim to provide in-depth information regarding the available types, uses, and benefits of social capital with regard to their access and integration into the labor market. We found that refugees have access to different types of social capital and that these types can offer different forms of support to refugees during the labor market integration process. In addition, we identify subtle differences in the kinds of support offered through vertical and horizontal bonding and bridging social capital. More specifically, we found that vertical bridging social capital is a valuable source for securing adequate employment, whereas horizontal bonding social capital and independent job-searching methods may more often lead to low-skilled work or underemployment. Our findings provide new insights into how different forms of social capital can facilitate labor market integration of refugees at different stages.

Translated title of the contributionWie nutzen Flüchtlinge ihr soziales Kapital für die erfolgreiche Integration in den Arbeitsmarkt?: Eine explorative Analyse in Deutschland
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.

    Research areas

  • Psychology
  • Bonding social capital, Bridging social capital, Labor-market integration, Refugees, Refugees' vocational behavior, Social capital theory