Ageing International

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 234–249 | Cite as

Too Old to Work: Views on Reemployment in Older Unemployed Immigrants in Germany

  • Irina Catrinel CrăciunEmail author
  • Sarah Rasche
  • Uwe Flick
  • Andreas Hirseland


Despite active aging discourses and labor force integration goals, unemployment and dependency on welfare institutions among older workers still prevails, especially among vulnerable groups like immigrants or women. However, little is known about how older immigrants understand or cope with unemployment. The present study investigates the interplay between age, gender and immigrant status in making sense of unemployment and reemployment barriers. Episodic interviews were conducted with 12 Russian-speaking and 12 Turkish unemployed immigrants living in Germany. Older unemployed immigrants perceived age as an important barrier for reemployment and used old age to make sense of their unemployment, setting the stage for the internalization of negative age stereotypes. Gender norms may be less important than age perceptions in the context of unemployment. Different intervention alternatives are discussed in relation to the immigrant unemployed aging groups studied.


Globalization/immigration Immigrants Qualitative research methods Health Workforce issues Ageism 



The first author did not receive any funding for the current study. The second and third authors received financial support for the research reported in this article from the Institute for Employment Research (the Research Institute of the Federal Employment Agency in Germany) in a collaborative project of the institute and the Freie Universität Berlin. The fourth author contributed as member of this institute to the article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina Catrinel Crăciun
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sarah Rasche
    • 2
  • Uwe Flick
    • 2
  • Andreas Hirseland
    • 3
  1. 1.Babeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Department of Education and Psychology, Division of Qualitative Social and Education ResearchFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Employment ResearchNürnbergGermany

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