, PhD, MBA, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA; Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics, Germany
, PhD, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA
, PhD, Florida Southern College, USA
The skills of migrants, the skills of existing workers, and the characteristics of the host economy are critical factors that impact the labor market in any country. Studying these effects is a critical area of research with much of the research being specific to time and place. There are studies on the UK which look into the wage effects of immigration and the impact on unemployment A study on Denmark found that an increase in the supply of refugee-country immigrants pushed less educated native workers (especially the young and low-tenured ones) to pursue less manual-intensive occupations. So, immigration had positive effects on unskilled wages, employment and occupational mobility. This has led to critical assessments of the skills brought in by migrants who have a higher level of education. This is occurring to quite an extent in present-day immigration to Europe.
This paper draws on a study performed by the authors on African nationals with an academic background and who study, live and work in Germany. They were asked to complete an online questionnaire on management soft skills. The results revealed that the African migrants appear to be quite aware of the specific soft skills they owe to their cultural background, which ultimately might make them well equipped for better job opportunities when they actively apply them in their work environment. In continuance, this paper contrasts those findings with the results of a large European survey of migrants’ soft skills conducted with companies’ heads, personnel managers and business associations. Mirroring the results of both studies provides an insight into the extent in which the opinions on migrants’ soft skills align and where they differ. This leads to infer that while migrants’ skills enhance their ability to enter into the labor market, the skills also shape the market by creating niches for employment and this in turn changes how migrants deploy their skills.
There are various conclusions to be drawn: One is that integrating migrants into the labor market requires creative leadership and ethically founded decision-making: Both employers and employer associations must seek to fully utilize all the skills provided by the new entrants to the labor market. From a theoretical perspective, the two sets (of data but of interviewees as well) represent two distinct agglomerations of elements that are interrelated within each set, and they are also relating the sets to each other. This embeds a variety of systems-thinking constructs. Co-creation is one, and it regards to building a new set of information from not only the observations on skills offered and required but also from the developments that are triggered when offer and demand meet. One other is coalescing of equi-finality and multi-finality to arrive at a balance between needs of job-seekers and the job offers that can be satisfied short-term or for which long-term solutions are required. A third one is conjoining self-organization and relationality where skills development and labor market conditions enter into a systemic relation. For applying this concept, a parallel can be drawn to the innovation deployment projects that are run within the European Commission’s Framework Programs (Kapsali, 2011). With regard to generating new opportunities in the job market, a systems-thinking interpretation would be that of an auto-poietic system (the development of skills) that interacts with the environment (the job market) and processes self-reference and other-reference. The paper evaluates the applicability of these concepts to the phenomenon of migrants in the labor market.
Keywords: migrants, soft skills, knowledge, labor market, systemic thought.
JEL Classification: J24, J20, J11, A13, Z10.
Cite as: Bardy, R., Rubens, A., Eberle, P. (2017). Soft Skills and Job Opportunities of Migrants: Systemic Relationships in the Labor Market. Business Ethics and Leadership, 1(4), 5-21. DOI: 10.21272/bel.1(4).5-21.2017
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