IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Refugees‘ Integration in the Austrian Labour Market: Occupational Mobility and Job-Skills Mismatch




wiiw publishes a detailed study on occupational mobility and job-skills mismatch of the recent wave of refugees from the Middle East (predominantly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran) in the Austrian labour market. The study is based on two waves of an extensive survey of refugees conducted between December 2017 and May 2019, comprising 1,600 and 2,400 respondents respectively. The following are the key findings (i) Occupational mobility analysis suggests a steep decline in ‘occupational status’ when comparing the last job in the home country and the first job attained in Austria, and a slight recovery afterwards—a ‘mirror J’ pattern. (ii) The initial decline is particularly strong for persons with tertiary degrees, and for those who worked as professionals, senior officials and managers before leaving their home countries. (iii) Occupational trajectories of female refugees differ from those of their male counterparts in that they experience a steeper occupational downgrade between their last job in the home country and first job in Austria and there is little evidence of an occupational recovery after the initial drop. (iv) In both waves of the survey, about 60% of the respondents regard themselves as ‘overqualified’ in their current employment; a higher share of males than of females in this self-assessment think of themselves as ‘overqualified’. The share of those who think they are ‘overqualified’ jumps to 70-74% among those with higher educational attainment levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Landesmann & Sandra M. Leitner, 2020. "Refugees‘ Integration in the Austrian Labour Market: Occupational Mobility and Job-Skills Mismatch," wiiw Policy Notes 41, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  • Handle: RePEc:wii:pnotes:pn:41

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. José M. Casado-Díaz & Raquel Simón-Albert & Hipólito Simón, 2022. "Reassessing the commuting penalty for immigrants: new evidence from Spain," Transportation, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 1099-1132, August.

    More about this item


    Refugees; occupational trajectories; job-skills mismatch; Austria; refugees from Middle East; migrants’ job-market integration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wii:pnotes:pn:41. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Customer service (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.