9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS04 Europe and Immigration

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Structural Participation: Education and Labour Market Building I, 1E9

Sources of disadvantage in occupational transition of immigrants in the Spanish labour market

Large empirical evidence from different geographical and social context shows that immigrants tend to experience U-shaped pattern of occupational mobility. In other words, the migration often implies initial occupational downgrading followed by gradual improvement with the passage of time in the host country. Chiswick, Lee and Miller observed that the depth of the initial occupational downgrading varies by characteristics of immigrants´ skills, and its transferability to the host country context. Other authors state that the clustering in low-income and low status occupation should be attributed to the fact that the newly arrived immigrants are highly dependent on social resources. On the other hand, the hypothesis of the selective discrimination of immigrant from certain origins could also be considered. Finally, increasing/decreasing disadvantages faced by the immigrants in the first job after arrival could be attributed to the changing conditions of the receiving country´s labour market.

This paper examines the hypothetical sources of the newly arrived immigrants´ occupational disadvantage in the Spanish labour market. The main question we address is: which ethnic, social and demographic profiles are more prone to occupational downgrading? The empirical analysis is based on data from recently released data from the Spanish National Immigrant Survey (Encuesta Nacional de Inmigrantes - ENI) carried out in 2007 which includes information of around 15.000 individuals. ENI data set includes information on pre-immigration occupation, the first occupation in Spain and several data on immigrants´ characteristics such as (a) educational and skills level, (b) sex, (c) region of origin, (d) year of migration to Spain, (d) social networks on arrival. In our study we compare the first occupation in Spain with the last job in the country of origin in order to identify patterns of occupational mobility. Subsequently, logistic regression models are used to estimate the odds of occupational downgrading. We test several hypotheses that includes above mentioned sets of variables in order to identify the strongest predictors of decline on the occupational scale.