Migrant women in the German job market

On the 1st of February 2024, an event titled ‘Migrant women in the German job market’ was jointly organised by the International Organisation for Migration in Berlin and Linogoda’s initiative Match Talent, as part of the Migration and Language Experts Group. The goal was to better understand the opportunities and challenges of migrant women accessing the German labour market.IOM Event Migrant Women in the German Job Market

In the image: Representatives of the embassy of Pakistan and Bulgaria and the attending organisations: IOM, Lingoda/Match Talent Initiative, Redi School of Digital Integration, Kiron Open Higher Education, Handbook Germany, Ayekoo, IPSO, LUNA e.V., Women AI Academy

Representatives from various migrant and educational organisations along with the embassies of Bulgaria and Pakistan came in and shared their experiences in working with migrant women. Among the issues identified were the discrepancy between the requirements of employers and the experiences of migrant women, a lack of awareness of available resources and offerings, as well as missing support networks. In addition, existing opportunities and solutions to improve access to the labour market for migrants and newcomers were highlighted.

The event started with a presentation by Match Talent for Women, an initiative by Match Talent that focuses on supporting newcomer women in Germany to access career opportunities. Match Talent for Women presented the results of a survey they conducted among migrant women to better understand their needs. In addition, ReDI School of Digital Integration introduced its "Digital Women" programme and talked about its approach and experiences in training digital beginners and career changers. ReDI has developed a special toolkit for its programme that takes a holistic approach by offering further support such as on-site childcare and networking opportunities.

What obstacles do migrant women face when entering the German labour market?

Several barriers to entering the labour market were identified, including lack of relevant experience and limited awareness of available resources and opportunities. In addition to that, the results of the survey Match Talent for Women conducted among 172 migrant women revealed that migrant women often lack a sense of belonging and community in their new environment. The results also indicate that the specific characteristics of the German job market are unfamiliar to many women and require a period of adjustment. The attending organisations shared similar experiences of working with the target group. Other women who received support from the attending organisations also mentioned that they face psychological challenges in adapting to a new environment and culture. 

Moreover, it was highlighted that migrant women occasionally lack the professional experience and language skills needed in the labour market. Furthermore, a discrepancy between their skills and experiences and companies’ expectations for job positions may emerge. Companies often have high recruitment barriers, while there is a lack of knowledge among migrant women about targeted pre-qualification and career programmes as well as support offerings.

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Drawing conclusions in order to achieve sustainable integration

In order to overcome these obstacles, participants at the event suggested the need for more cross-sector collaboration, better knowledge transfer, and the involvement of the target group in the development of solutions. 

In particular, close cooperation between potential employers and migrant organisations was emphasised as a best practice. This would allow for better alignment of the expectations and offers on both sides and thus enable more women to successfully enter the labour market. In this context, many participants considered job fairs, mentoring and language programmes as well as targeted education initiatives as successful cooperation approaches that should continue to be scaled up. 

Several organisations also emphasised the importance of combating discrimination and challenging traditional gender roles to create a more inclusive labour market. Moreover, there is a need to address the reported lack of communities among migrant women through promoting stronger support networks. Migrant organisations were identified as crucial in connecting and empowering migrant women, fostering self-organised communities.

The Migration and Language Experts Group will meet again in the near future to further discuss how to better facilitate the route to integration and to develop further solutions and opportunities for collaboration.