Occupational adjustment of immigrants

Aslan Zorlu, University of Amsterdam

This paper extends immigration literature by examining the occupational adjustment of immigrants using three different measures of occupational outcome: the International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI); the five levels of occupations (OL) based on the 1992 standard classification of occupations; and the social-class schema of Erikson, Goldthorpe and Portocarero (EGP) (Evans, 1992; Ganzeboom and Treiman, 1996). We estimated the rate of adjustment for the main groups of immigrants in the Netherlands from the labour-force surveys that include internationally-comparable measurements of employment, occupation, and education. The analysis provides new evidence that immigrants start with jobs at the lower levels of skill distribution. Their occupational achievement improves significantly with the duration of residence. The extent of this initial disadvantage and the rate of adjustment vary across immigrant groups according to the transferability of skills associated with their cultural and linguistic distance from Dutch society as predicted by the Dip & Catch-up model. Turks and Moroccans face the greatest initial dip and achieve the highest rate of adjustment while the opposite holds for Caribbean and Western immigrants.

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Presented in Session 67: Immigrants and the labour market