The children of immigrants are steadily gaining ground on ethnic Danes in the national job market, a recent report from the Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI) said.
According to SFI, the daughters of immigrants are particularly increasing their presence in the labour market. In 1997, just four percent of female non-Western descendants held positions that required advanced degrees. By 2012, that number was up to 21 percent.
“Since the 1990s, we’ve seen more and more descendants take advanced educations and it is especially the women who are taking the study spots. Therefore we also see that the women have made the biggest moves within the area of employment,” SFI researcher Vibeke Jakobsen said in a statement.
The Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) cheered the development.
“As employers, we are happy that more and more people are getting qualified. I also think that it is connected to the fact that more [descendants, ed.] have gone through the Danish education system,” Dansk Erhverv spokesman Ole Steen Olsen said in the SFI report.
The analysis also found that once the descendants of immigrants enter the job market, they are just as like to find a job that matches their qualifications as their Danish counterparts.
But while their children might be performing better in the job market, things are still difficult for immigrants to Denmark. Even those who come to the country with a higher education from their home country have difficulty finding jobs that match their education and experience level.
Olsen said that Danish employers often have a hard time figuring out how foreign degrees correspond to the Danish system.
According to SFI, this is an area where the descendants of immigrants have a clear advantage over their parents.
“It is a big challenge to figure out how to better take advantage of qualified immigrants within the Danish labour market. They might have an education that a Danish company is unfamiliar with. There, the descendants have an advantage because they have a Danish education,” Jakobsen said.
Denmark’s official statistics bureau, Statistics Denmark, defines descendants of immigrants (efterkommere) as someone who was born in Denmark to non-Danish parents. If and when the parents receive Danish citizenship, their children are no longer considered descendants in the official statistics.