Explaining employers’ decision when employing refugees Insights from a mixed method study
Meer, J.J.S. van der
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Refugees have a disadvantaged position on the labour market, since their participation is relatively low. Although an increased number of employers is willing to employ a refugee, there is little attention to the perspective of the employer. This study explains why some employers employ a refugee while others do not. By combining interviews with a vignette study, it is found that in line with the human capital theory, speaking the Dutch language as a refugee favours the employment. A CV of a refugee appears to be less relevant, because most employers find it difficult to judge the relevance of prior education and prior work experience. Employers do however take the education of refugees into account when deciding whether or not to employ a refugee. Findings also indicate that refugees’ health and motivation are necessary preconditions for the employment. Furthermore, several types of organizations are more likely to employ refugees than others, for instance when organizations have a higher degree of corporate social responsibility, when they have included diversity management practices or when they deal with vacancies that are hard to fulfil. Organizations also need the capacity to employ a refugee and the organization, including management and employees, should be willing to hire a refugee. Moreover, the environment of the organization explains employers’ behaviour. Organizations that pay more attention to other organizations, which already had employed a refugee, appeared to be more willing to employ a refugee themselves. Finally, it can be concluded that a social policy support of municipalities influences the decision of employers whether or not to employ a refugee. Trial periods are used, in which employers test refugees without obligations. Besides, financial compensation and a contact person who gives individually-tailored support are additional explanations for employers’ decision when employing a refugee.