Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 243–277 | Cite as

Employment and Occupational Mobility among Recently Arrived Immigrants: The Spanish Case 1997–2007

  • Enrique Fernández-Macías
  • Rafael GrandeEmail author
  • Alberto del Rey Poveda
  • José-Ignacio Antón


The objective of this paper is to analyse occupational mobility among immigrants in Spain in two distinct stages: (1) comparing the immigrants’ first job in Spain with their profession in the country of origin and (2) comparing their current occupational status with the occupational status of the first job they held in Spain. We focus on immigrants who arrived in Spain during the “immigration boom” that took place between 1997 and 2007, using data from the 2007 National Survey on Immigration. For our analysis, we use occupational mobility tables and multi-variable models with occupational mobility as a dependent variable. Our results show that we can better understand the initial access of migrants to the Spanish labour market from the perspective of labour market segregation: for each gender, a particular sector/occupational level (construction and cleaning, respectively) played such a dominant role that it determined almost entirely the observed mobility pattern. We find some (upward) mobility opportunities after such initial strong segregation, which increased with length of residence; however, our results suggest that, even in this case, it is mostly limited to men and associated with the construction boom that finished abruptly in 2007.


Occupational mobility Immigration Spain Gender Labour market segmentation 



The authors thank constructive comments from four anonymous referees and the editor Stephanie Bohon and Rafael Grande, Alberto del Rey and José-Ignacio Antón gratefully acknowledge research funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Research Project CSO2010-16413).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Fernández-Macías
    • 1
  • Rafael Grande
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alberto del Rey Poveda
    • 2
  • José-Ignacio Antón
    • 2
  1. 1.European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working ConditionsDublinIreland
  2. 2.University of SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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