Over recent months we have explored many issues surrounding the challenges and some possible solutions for those that migrate by choice or otherwise. There is often a great deal of focus on those referred to as first generation migrants, those born outside of the country of their residence. But what about the second or third generations and what does the available data concerning their educational and work attainment indicate?
Some time ago we looked at 12 global migration hotspots and provided an overview of their educational systems. Today, we look at some European Union (EU) statistical findings produced by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Although specifically relating to five of these global hot spots, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, these findings can form the basis for further comparisons, research and of course action.
In 2014 Eurostat, data analysis found that a relatively high proportion of migrants to the EU were highly skilled and that second generation immigrants were 11.5 percentage points more likely to complete their tertiary education than those who were native-born residents with native born backgrounds. Although this was not found to be the case in all countries, it was found that native-born residents were being outperformed by at lease one of the first two migrant generations. Interestingly the data showed that approximately 33% of immigrants moved to countries that used their mother tongue and around 33% said that they were proficient in their destination language, only 12% of non EU and 9% of EU immigrants said that they had a basic knowledge of the language.
In terms of educational achievement, Eurostat data found “in 2014, the highest proportion of tertiary graduates was observed among second generation-immigrants (38% for those of EU and 36.2% for those of non-EU origin), while the lowest was among first generation immigrants born outside the EU (29.4%)”. When reviewed at Member State level, significant variations were found with regard to educational attainment by migration status and background. Countries such as France, Austria and Italy had similar EU levels, whilst native-born residents in Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Latvia and Finland had a higher proportion of tertiary graduates. In stark contrast, in Luxembourg 59% and in the United Kingdom 50.1% of foreign-born residents aged 25 to 54 were tertiary graduates and in Cyprus it was 62.3%. Although some of this data will reflect migrant entry skills level, it would be interesting to compare the educational, cultural, socio-economic systems and support networks and their influence on subsequent generations.
Many studies continue to show that first generation migrants work in low skilled jobs and in 2014 it was found that a third of first-generation migrant workers with tertiary degrees and one fifth of native-born residents were over qualified for their jobs.
There is still much work to be done, and not least, a change in the perception of the people and the skills and abilities carried by all those that migrate.
Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD
Lesley Shepperson / ZongoNews.com / firstname.lastname@example.org