Association between bridging networks and likelihood of employment among refugees and asylum seekers

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202102031452
Title: Association between bridging networks and likelihood of employment among refugees and asylum seekers
Author: Heinonen, Sanna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202102031452
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/325789
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: Refugees and asylum seekers and their employment is critical, contemporary topic and challenge in majority of European countries. The employment rates of refugees and asylum seekers are relatively low, yet refugees simultaneously face considerable structural challenges in attaining employment. Their large-scale unemployment is problematic both in political and economic terms, and crucially needs alleviation. Various factors significantly influencing refugees’ employment have been identified in previous academic research, but the role of social networks in relation to likelihood of employment is not clear despite research. Therefore, this study aims to provide statistical viewpoint on how social networks, particularly networks to Finnish-born people, are connected to the employment probability of refugees, and how strong and statistically significant the association is. This study uses data from Migrants’ health and wellbeing (Maahanmuuttajien terveys- ja hyvinvointitutkimus, Maamu) by Finnish Institute of health and welfare (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, THL), surveyed in 2010-2012. Maamu study was conducted to examine the living conditions, health, wellbeing and use of services of three immigrant groups of Somalis, Kurds and Russians, and covered 1846 respondents. Refugee group in this study consists mainly of Kurds and Somalis (99,5%), and non-refugee control group mainly of Russians (95%). Association between social networks and employment was analyzed with logistic regression analysis. Sociodemographic factors and measures of physical and mental health, length of residence, language skills, previous education, and ethnicity were used as covariates. Main results of the study indicate that bridging networks are positively and statistically significantly correlated to employment (OR 1.50, CI 95% 1.12-2.01, p 0.006) when refugee status, demographic factors and refugee-specific variables are controlled for. Networks to co-ethnic or other immigrants are not statistically significantly associated to employment. Interaction analysis (p 0.015) revealed that bridging networks are positively associated to employment among both non-refugees (OR 1.07) and refugees (OR 0.80), as without bridging network the likelihood of employment is considerably lower (OR 0.38). Therefore, bridging networks do seem particularly relevant in employment of refugees. Regression analysis examining associations with bridging networks showed especially strong connections to local language skills, and surprisingly, networks to other immigrants. These findings suggest that in Finnish context, immigrants’ bridging networks to Finnish-born people are positively and statistically significantly associated to employment, and the association is especially strong among refugees. Therefore, better enabling refugees to create ties to Finnish-born people could in turn improve their likelihood of employment. However, due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, further studies are needed to examine the causality of bridging networks and employment among refugees and other immigrants.
Subject: refugees
asylum seekers
employment
social networks
bridging capital
Subject (yso): pakolaiset
turvapaikanhakijat
sosiaaliset verkostot
työllistyminen


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