Using data from the Trajectories and Origins survey (TeO), this chapter investigates the role of networks in access to employment of descendants of immigrants in France. I compare the recruitment channels and the type of networks used by various origin groups and the majority population. And I analyse the determinants of obtaining a job through family ties or personal networks, disentangling the effects of origin from other individual characteristics, and the nature of the job obtained. I show that the use of networks – and the kind of networks - to get jobs varies by origin groups and by gender. Within-group differences exist also according to education, family background and place of residence, as well as by sector of employment. Controlling for similar characteristics, family ties play help descendants of migrants from Turkey to get a job, and to a lesser extent, descendants from Portugal. This helps explain ethnic segregation and the quality of the jobs of these groups. Descendants of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and from North Africa were less likely to obtain less their job through networks. This is especially true for women, who compensate by using more formal methods. These groups would need stronger networks or intermediaries to provide trusted information to employers and reduce discrimination and racism. This chapter thus contributes to a better understanding of the inequalities faced by various origin groups in the French labour market.
- Access to employment
- Second generations
- Family/personal ties
- Employment intermediaries
In France, research on access to employment for second-generation young people has increased in recent decades, showing that descendants of immigrants experience more difficulties in finding employment than youth of French origin. Their transition-to-work varies, however, depending on their migratory origin, with certain groups such as young people of North African or Sub-Saharan African origin facing greater unemployment, while those of South European origins do not differ from the majority population (Silberman & Fournier, 1999; Brinbaum & Werquin, 1997, 2004; Frickey & Primon, 2006; Meurs et al., 2006; Silberman et al., 2007; Brinbaum & Guégnard, 2013; Brinbaum & Primon, 2013b). The difficulties of these groups are partly due to their class origins, their level of education and the fact that they more often reside in highly socially-segregated neighbourhoods, but they persist once these characteristics are controlled for. These remaining gaps, obtained over time and from different sources, indicate “ethnic penalties” (Heath & Cheung, 2007). They suggest discrimination in hiring, which has been confirmed by studies using correspondence testing (Duguet et al., 2009; Petit et al., 2013). These results are also consistent with perceptions of having suffered discrimination in hiring, mainly based on their names, ethnic and racial grounds (Silberman & Fournier, 1999; Brinbaum & Guégnard, 2012; Brinbaum et al., 2015, 2018).
However, other mechanisms have to be explored, in particular the way young people have found jobs, the channels used and the role of networks for accessing the labour market. In the French context, with a high rate of youth unemployment and the importance of a diploma in the labour market, the role of social networks has been shown, in particular for the less qualified (e.g. Degenne et al., 1991; Joseph et al., 2008). Lack of resources and social networks and selection of some channels may reinforce difficulties in the early career and so contribute to explaining ethnic penalties in the labour market.
While this subject is at the heart of social and political debates, and studies have increased to better understand the obstacles faced by these young people in the labour market, little attention has been paid to the ways in which descendants of immigrants have found employment. This chapter, therefore, proposes to analyse recruitment channels used, and particularly the role of networks, which has so far been under-explored for the second generations in France a fortiori with national and quantitative surveys.
So what about the descendants of immigrants who were born and socialised in France and for whom the question of language or recognition of educational qualifications is no longer an issue? Have they found employment through the same channels as their native French peers? What is the role of networks – and networks of particular types – compared to other channels (such as direct applications, institutional employment agencies, etc.)? Do we observe differences according to migratory and geographical origin? How does gender matter? What are the determinants of recruitment through networks as against more formal or institutional methods? Can social networks help descendants of migrants navigate persistent structural inequality and contexts of discrimination in hiring? What are the consequences in terms of the type of job held, for example whether it is permanent or fixed-term job, and whether it leads to social mobility compared to parents or not? In answering these questions, the chapter engages with themes also discussed by the editors in the introductory chapter to this book and by Lang et al., and Keskiner and Waldring in their chapters.
Using national data from the Trajectories and Origins survey, I focus on the second generations taking into account their diversity, and analyze the channels and social networks that led to their current job. I first compare the outcomes between the second generation minorities and the majority group by specific origins and then I analyse the determinants of being employed through personal or family networks rather than other channels in the French labour market, disentangling origin effects from other individual characteristics (such as gender, education, class background etc.) and job characteristics.
Analysis of the ways in which these young people access employment can help shed light on how the labour market functions, in particular the professional situation of descendants of immigrants, and the ethnic segregation of jobs in certain sectors. This contributes to a better understanding of ethnic inequalities in the labour market and of the social trajectories of the second generations.
5.1.1 The Role of Networks and Migratory Origins: Little-Explored Links in France
Sociologists have focused on the role of social networks in access to employment. Granovetter’s (1974) pioneering work in the United States highlighted the role of social networks as important resources in access to employment, functioning as channels of information on employment opportunities (see also Lin, 1999). Granovetter developed the theory of the “strength of weak ties” (1973, 1974), which argues that weak ties (professional relations, acquaintances, etc.) are more important in the labour market for finding a job than strong ties (family and personal relations) and lead to better jobs. However, subsequent work has also shown in some circumstances “the strength of strong ties” (Degenne et al., 1991 for France; Granovetter, 2017; see also Ryan’s chapter in this book): in particular, the importance of the family in access to employment of young people starting out on the labour market, and those who are low-skilled. This theory has been tested, but much less so for descendants of migrants.
Labour economists have also been interested in the role of networks in finding employment (Simonnet & Margolis, 2004). Research in the economics of conventions analyses how the labour market functions by looking at the ways and conditions in which candidates and employers are brought together (Marchal & Rieucau, 2010). This stream of research has highlighted the role of different channels in recruitment processes, the importance of direct applications in France, the role of networks and the market (through an “intermediary”, whether it be personal networks/intermediaries or the job recruitment market)Footnote 1 and has shown the selectivity of channels in matching employers and candidates and their specialisation according to the characteristics of the employees recruited and the types of companies (Bessy & Marchal, 2009; Marchal & Rieucau, 2010). Although this trend has developed in France and has contributed to knowledge of the functioning of the labour market, neither migrants nor their descendants have been covered in this stream of research. Nonetheless, these approaches can contribute to the analysis of the labour market integration of migrants and their descendants.
As discussed in the introduction to this book, research has shown the role of social networks for helping migrants to integrate into the labour market (Portes, 1998; Zhou, 2005; Amuedo-Dorantes & Mundra, 2007; Behtoui, 2007, 2015; Ryan, 2011, 2016; Lancee, 2010; Lancee & Hartung, 2012; Kalter & Kogan, 2014); networks of their ethnic communities help migrants to compensate the lack of language skills, human capital or recognition of diploma (Ryan, 2011; Chiswick & Miller, 2014; Kalter & Kogan, 2014; Brinbaum, 2018b).
The impact on immigrants’ labour market integration is however mitigated by the fact that networks may lead to a ‘mobility trap’ (Portes, 1998; Kalter & Kogan, 2014), lower wages or overqualification (Behtoui, 2008 and in this volume; Ryan in this volume; Bechichi et al., 2016). And in some cases there may be no association between the use of social ties and salary or job status. These networks contribute to an ethnic segmentation of the labour market and the development of “ethnic niches” in certain sectors with low paid jobs (e.g. Waldinger, 1994 for Mexicans). While studies initially emphasised the isolation of minorities from the networks necessary to find employment, they gradually highlighted their propensity to find their jobs more than others through ethnic networks (Fernandez & Fernandez-Mateo, 2006) and also the effects of this “homophily”Footnote 2 in the ethnic segregation of jobs (see also Reingold, 1999 and Behtoui in this volume).
Effects may be different according to the nature of social ties. For instance, bridging social capital (access to job information outside of one’s community) may have a positive effect on men’s employment, occupational status and income, while bonding social capital (within ethnic networks) may not be effective (Lancee, 2012). Social networks with the majority population is often seen as leading to positive labour market outcomes in terms of employment and income (Lancee, 2010; Kalter & Kogan, 2014). However, Ryan (2011, 2016) questions these dichotomies as used in the migration literature. In fact data on ties with co-ethnics are often interpreted as Granovetter’s (1973) “strong ties” or Putnam’s (2000) “bonding”, and ties with the majority population seen as “weak ties” or “bridging” social capital. Yet much evidence (including that presented in this volume, e.g. chapters by Ryan, Rezai and Keskiner, Lang, Schneider and Pott) shows this conflation is unjustified.
We also question these dichotomies for second generation youth and wonder whether social contacts and particularly, intergenerational ties – and which type – still play a role in access to employment and professional career (e.g. Brinbaum & Rieucau, 2012; Crul et al., 2017). In France, the importance of networks of relationships for accessing employment has been particularly highlighted within the Portuguese (Cordeiro, 1997; Domingues Dos Santos, 2005) and Turkish communities (de Tapia, 2009), or among Senegalese migrants across national contexts (Toma, 2016). Recent studies show the high employment rate of immigrants, and the importance of jobs found through relatives, especially for immigrants with a poor knowledge of French (Bechichi et al., 2016). Research has also shown notable differences in the use of networks in access to employment between job-searchers of different origins, generations – first vs second generation – and gender (Brinbaum et al., 2015; Brinbaum, 2018b). In addition to discrimination, unequal access to networks has contributed to explaining the differences in employment between the descendants of Portuguese, whose access to employment is as good as, or even better than, the majority population, and North African second generations, who encounter more difficulties and higher unemployment (Silberman & Fournier, 1999; Brinbaum & Werquin, 1997, 2004; Meurs et al., 2006; Brinbaum & Guégnard, 2013).
Another explanation refers to the different educational and occupational aspirations and relationship to social mobility these groups have, and their effective educational pathways. North-African families express high aspirations – higher than those of the majority population of similar social class – for academic studies in higher education, leading to social mobility, whereas Portuguese families prefer apprenticeships and short, mainly vocational or technical studies, for a rapid entry to the labour market (Brinbaum, 1999; Brinbaum & Kieffer, 2005; Brinbaum & Cebolla Boado, 2007). Hence, descendants of Portuguese may rely on family and community networks, while this is not in the case for Maghreb children. This is a problem particularly for boys who are more likely than girls to have school difficulties, be oriented against their will into vocational tracks and to drop out of school (Brinbaum & Kieffer, 2009; Brinbaum & Guégnard, 2012). Their school experiences are therefore lived as ethnic and racial discrimination (Brinbaum & Primon, 2013a) and may lead them to the labour market, without either a diploma or social capital, plus having to face discrimination in hiring.
Using the TeO survey, Brinbaum and Rieucau (2012) investigated the ways descendants of immigrants seek work and get jobs according to their origin (and other factors). We found that those looking for a job at the time of the survey used a variety of methods, and once education, social class background and place of residence were controlled, there were not significant differences between young people of different origins, except for the Turkish second generation. However, the recruitment channels by which employed respondents found their current job show more variation across origin groups. These results indicate the role of social and territorial segregation and of discrimination, but also access to social ties as a source of ethnic inequality on the labour market.
This chapter investigates the role of networks, and the kind of networks, in descendants of immigrants’ access to employment, according to their geographical origin, using data from the Trajectories and Origins survey. I analyse the determinants of being employed through personal or family networks rather than other channels in the French labour market, disentangling origin effects from other individual characteristics (such as gender, education, class background etc.) and job characteristics, and their effects as far as possible with our data.
With regard to networks, it is assumed that, on average, young descendants of immigrants are less likely to be recruited through networks, as their families are more likely to be unemployed or economically inactive. Some are unqualified, and are more often exposed to unemployment, and thus more dependent on the networks they can mobilise (e.g. Degenne et al., 1991; Joseph et al., 2008). A sub hypothesis concerns differences in recruitment and the different role of networks according to the country of origin, but also within origin groups; reflecting the heterogeneity among descendants of migrants in terms of education and social capital. As TeO data brings out female overachievement in education, for all origins except for the Turkish second generation (Brinbaum & Primon, 2013a), we also expect gender differences. A complementary hypothesis concerns the importance of the family for certain groups, who draw resources from community and family. From this perspective, “co-ethnic” ties facilitate recruitment, with the possible consequence of job segregation linked to origin. Another consequence concerns the type of job held and its quality (in terms of stability).
A final hypothesis concerns the role of formal intermediaries in the recruitment of descendants of immigrants, in connection with public policies; intermediaries such as public placement or employment agencies and temporary work agencies, which could compensate for the lack of networks among certain groups in addition to discrimination they face.
The analysis therefore compares the ways young people access employment according to their migratory origins in the first part, then in the second part analyses the determinants of the recruitment channels and impact.
5.2 Data and Methodology
The analysis is based on the Trajectoires et Origines survey (Trajectories and Origins. The diversity of populations in France – known as TeO) coordinated by the Institut national d’études démographiques (Ined) and the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insee). The survey, which is representative of the general population, was carried out by questionnaire between September 2008 and February 2009 among 22,000 people aged between 18 and 60 living in an ordinary household in metropolitan France. It aims to analyse the living conditions and social trajectories of individuals according to their social origins and their link to migration. It focuses on populations from varied migrations, some relatively recent, others less so, examines their access to goods and to services (education, work, housing, etc.) as well as the discrimination that may hinder them in different spheres.
5.2.1 The Second Generations and Origin Groups in TeO
Definitions: according to the definition of the High Council for Integration, an immigrant is a foreign-person person born abroad and residing in France. A descendant of an immigrant is born in metropolitan France with at least one immigrant parent. We distinguish here between descendants of two immigrant parents (for the sake of readability, we will write descendants of immigrants) and those from mixed couples (one immigrant parent). Persons belonging to the majority population are neither immigrants nor descendants of immigrants.
‘Origin’ is defined as parents’ place of birth. We retain the most numerous origin groups in France, young people whose immigrant parents were born in Portugal, North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), other countries, or mixed couples (one immigrant parent, one of French origin).
The field includes young workers aged 18 to 35 in 2008–2009, descendants of immigrants of the majority population, who have completed their initial education. The analysis of how people obtained their current job focuses on employees, but excludes apprentices and trainees (3661 persons). The percentages are calculated on weighted data.
The TeO survey has the advantage of providing data on populations from more recent migration, less well-studied in France – from Turkey, South-East Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa – which can be compared with older migration waves from North Africa and Portugal. To analyse the role of networks, there is a question on how people found their jobs (see below) and a specification of the nature of ties, which is rare in quantitative surveys.Footnote 3
5.2.2 Identifying Networks in the TeO Survey: Interests and Limitations
Means of Access to Employment in the TeO Survey
The means of obtaining the job held at the time of the survey are gathered from the question “How did you find your job?” and the following responses:
1. By direct application
2. Through your family
3. Through personal relations
4. Through a competition or examination
5. By answering an advertisement or placing one
6. Through a temporary work agency
7. Through the ANPE* (government employment agency)
8. Through another placement organization
9. Through a school or training organization
10. By being contacted by an employer
11. Through community associations, a local program or another administrative service (local council, town hall, etc.)
12. By other means
Note: * ANPE ceased to exist in 2008 and became Pôle Emploi after merging with Assedic.
For the descriptive results, I present the channels in details (Table 5.2), while the most frequent channels have been retained for the regressions: direct applications, networks – both family and personal ties – and employment “intermediaries”. For the latter category, temporary work agencies and public employment agencies, as well as associations, were grouped together (channels 6 to 8 and 11); this channel category is quite heterogeneous and have different target groups, but we gathered it for methological reasons linked to their share in the repartition of the channels and the sample size. The other channels have been grouped into the category “other”.
For analysing networks through relations in this chapter, I focus on “family” and “personal” ties. Other channels, like “school and training” contacts may be seen as another form of network channel. This is also true for those who were contacted by an employer, since that channel implies that the employer – or colleagues – already know them, perhaps because the individual has already worked in the firm. However, this category is marginal.
Although it is interesting to analyse networks/job search with a large, representative dataset, there are some limitations, common to other quantitative surveys.
- First, the respondent can only give one answer as to how the job was obtained, although the job may have been found through a combination of channels.
In addition, we don’t know all the resources and networks which individuals who found a job possess, and mobilized for their job search, only the channel which led to the (current) job. Nevertheless, TeO asked people who did not have a job at the time of the survey what job search methods they used, and I give these in Box 5.1 in the annex.
- While the TeO survey has a category for “family ties”, which may be considered “strong ties”, the category “personal ties” is a little more ambiguous since it may group together both “strong ties” (such as friendships) and “weak ties” (such as distant work relations or acquaintances). It seems that the category has been understood by respondents as friends but this is not precised. I will discuss this dichotomy later.
- Another limitation is the absence of information on the ethnicity of ties. It would have been interesting to know whether ties are co-ethnic or national (or intra-ethnic/inter-ethnic), or even ties with second generation members from similar origin or not (see Ryan, 2011 and 2016 on the importance of this information on understanding the content of ties).
However, in the case of family ties, where both parents are immigrants and were born in the same nation, there is a strong likelihood that family ties are of the same ethnic origin as the respondent.Footnote 4 But we cannot know whether “personal ties” are with co-ethnics or not.
Another question is asked about the perceived origin of colleagues in the current job. This is a proxy for the ethnic composition of the workplace to measure segregated work environments: “Among your colleagues, would you say that...” 1. Almost all are of immigrant origin, 2. More than half are of immigrant origin. 3. Half are of immigrant origin, 4. Less than half are of immigrant origin, 5. Almost none or none are of immigrant origin. Responses 1 and 2 are classified as high segregation, 3 as medium, and 4 and 5 as low. This question, although imperfect, gives interesting results.
Finally, we do not have longitudinal data so we cannot measure the impact of use of networks on job characteristics. We only measure correlations between recruitment channels and types of jobs.
5.2.3 Methodology – Models
In order to disentangle the effects of the different factors on channels of recruitment, polytomous modelsFootnote 5 were estimated, with the most frequent means “direct applications” as the reference category. These models make it possible to define profiles of young people recruited through a particular channel – rather than through direct applications – and to gauge the specific effects of origins on channel of recruitment.
A first model (M1) takes into account only the detailed geographical origin. Other sociodemographic variables (sex, age, education level, class origins, mother’s participation in the labour force, place of residence) are added to the second model (M2). A third model (M3) takes into account characteristics of the job (sector of activity, firm size, type of contract – permanent or fixed time, full-time or part-time – and socio-occupational category) insofar as the channels and characteristics of the job held can be correlated. A variable indicating the year of recruitment was added – not all were recruited at the same time, so economic conditions may influence employment patterns – as well as previous unemployment. A last model looks at the eventual relationship between recruitment channels and experience of discrimination.Footnote 6 The results of the models are given in Table 5.10 in the Annex.
5.3 Unequal Access to Employment According to Origin and Gender
According to the TeO survey, in 2008, the employment rate of 18–35-year-olds varied according to migration origin. On average, 84% of descendants of immigrants were employed compared to 87% of the majority population. This gap rises to 5% for descendants of two immigrant parents, while descendants of mixed couples come closer to the majority population (86%). So descendants with two immigrant parents are less well integrated into the labour market than descendants of mixed couples or the majority population.
The differences appear even larger if we look at the specific geographical origin (Table 5.1): descendants of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and Turkey have the lowest employment rates, while descendants of immigrants from Portugal and other EU27 origins have the highest rates, with marked gender differences within certain origins. In particular, female descendants of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia are more often employed than males of the same origin. This is the opposite among the Turkish second generation, where women have the lowest employment rate.
These employment gaps are mostly linked to level of education, social background and place of residence, which differ considerably according to geographical origins. Based on the TeO data, we previously showed large differences in the educational careers and attainment of the second generations, according to both origins and gender (Brinbaum & Primon, 2013a); and significant differences compared to the majority population with similar characteristics between the descendants of immigrants from South-East Asia, the most successful, particularly the girls, and descendants of Turkish immigrants, rather less successful and more likely to lack a diploma, among boys and girls.
When socio-demographic characteristics and educational attainment are controlled for, gaps between second generations and the majority population remain for those of North African and Sub-Saharan African origins, men of South-East Asian origin and women of Turkish origin (Table 5.5 in Annex). These discrepancies may be attributed to discrimination against them. In fact, these groups are also most likely to say they suffered discrimination in hiring: among those seeking a job at the time of the TeO survey, this is the case for 34% of the descendants of North Africa and 28% of Sub-saharan origins, as against 23% of the majority population.
The differences between groups could also be explained by unequal access to networks according to migratory and geographical origin, and according to gender, a factor explored in this chapter.
5.3.1 The Role of Social Networks in the French Labour Market
22.214.171.124 Variations Between and Within Origin Groups
The TeO survey asks how respondents obtained their current job. On average, young people of immigrant descent and those from the majority group obtained their jobs through the same types of channels (Table 5.2): direct applications constitute the main recruitment channel, more than a third of all jobs obtained, followed by networks of relations, a quarter of jobs. Employment intermediaries are the third recruitment channel.
Descendants of two immigrant parents obtain their jobs less through direct applications than those from mixed couples (+5%), but are hired slightly more through relations or intermediaries than the majority population (+3%). Temporary work agencies and public institutions recruit the descendants of two immigrant parents more (+5%) than descendants of the majority population; the descendants of mixed ancestry are in an intermediate position. We may wonder whether these results – particularly the fact that direct contacts to employers lead to employment less for descendants of migrants – is related to discrimination.
A minority of TeO interviewees got their job via a competitive examination (concours) (5%) or via school or a training organization (5%). Finally, it should be noted that few young people, of any origin, got their job through job advertisements (5 to 6%), even though many young people do use this means when they are looking for a job (See Box 5.1 in Annex). It is worth noting that correspondence testing usually focuses on this channel, whereas few people actually got their jobs through advertisements. So they were grouped together with the ‘other’ category in the analysis.
The differences are small – though significant – when we compare young people of the majority population with descendants of migrants in general. However, they are more visible if we disaggregate descendants of immigrants by geographic origin (Table 5.2 and Model 1 in Table 5.9). The proportion of those gaining their job by direct applications is relatively high, and close to that of the majority population among descendants of immigrants from the Maghreb (37%) and particularly low among descendants of Turkish immigrants (22%), who are more likely than others to be recruited through networks of relations (39%).
Descendants of migrants from several groups obtained their jobs through employment intermediaries: via temporary work agencies for South East Asian, Turkish and Maghreb second generations, through a public institution for Sub-Saharan African descendants.
We observe the importance of networks in access to employment of young descendants of immigrants, but this role varies considerably according to origin, from 24% among the descendants of migrants from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan-Africa, up to 39% among descendants of Turkish immigrants.
126.96.36.199 Personal and Family Ties: Different Share According to Origin Groups and Gender
The distinction in the TeO survey between family and personal ties provides new results.Footnote 7 While networks through relations play a role in about a quarter of the jobs obtained, on average they are twice as often personal ties rather than family ties (Table 5.3). There are two exceptions: the descendants of South-East Asian immigrants who were recruited equally by both types of ties, and the descendants of Turkish immigrants, for whom the importance of family networks predominates (24% out of 39%).
Gender also matters (Table 5.8). While women, in general, are less likely than men to obtain their jobs through ties (27% as against 21%), they are more likely to get them through direct applications (44% compared to 30%). This trend is confirmed irrespective of origin, with gender differences, particularly evident for certain groups: especially young people of North African origin, where men are twice as likely to be recruited through relations than women are (32.5% vs 18%), and to a lesser extent, descendants of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (29% vs. 20%). While young men of Portuguese origin are still often recruited through relations, this is much less the case for women (36% versus 18% respectively) and for men it is mainly “personal ties” that are involved (25% versus 10% among women) rather than “family ties”. In contrast, among Turkish descendants, both men and women (40% and 36%) access their jobs through networks, and slightly more thanks to family ties (23% and 24% respectively).Footnote 8 In the other groups, men, more than women, are recruited through ties, and more often through personal ties.
5.3.2 Determinants of Family and Personal Networks: The Role of Origins and Other Factors
Do these differences between origins in terms of how people got their jobs reflect specific behaviours of certain groups, and/or employers towards these groups, or do they reflect differences in the characteristics of these groups, for example, in educational attainment, age, work experience, class background, or the economic sectors where they are employed? Do the patterns hold for men and women within each group? For the lower and the higher educated? Are the determinants of family ties similar to those of personal ties?
The descendants of Turkish immigrants are characterised by the fact that both men and women are often recruited by the family, while among the descendants of Portuguese, men are more recruited through personal ties. The differences between these two groups can also be explained by the fact that Turkish migration is much more recent in France than Portuguese migration. Family and relatives are mobilised to find a job, and friends more among the second group (see Box 5.1).
Moreover, given the importance of the family in the recruitment of the unskilled (Degenne et al., 1991; Kramarz & Skans, 2014), the predominance of recruitment via networks among young descendants of Turkish immigrants may be linked to their lower level of education: since the proportion of those without qualifications is high among boys and girls in this group (23% and 27% respectively), these networks are all the more necessary for them; whereas many men of Portuguese immigrant descent have just a secondary vocational diploma (BEP or CAP) while women have higher qualifications. Among those without a diploma (Table 5.8), indeed, family ties appear to be particularly important in the recruitment of young people of Turkish origin, exceeding the rates of the majority population (even though the numbers are small) and of other groups; this trend, although less marked, is also seen for men of Sub-Saharan origin.Footnote 9
These trends are related to lack of diplomas and to the sectors they work, in building and industry, rather male sectors, that recruit more through relations, while women make less use of their networks than men and work more in public sectors, which recruit less through relations (Table 5.3 and see chapter by Ryan in this volume for a similar observation).
On the other hand, young people of North African origin are recruited very little through family ties (only 7%). This finding points to the need for other (non-family) personal ties among this group, in the absence of family networks. This is particularly true for men, who are less qualified than North African women (25% without a diploma compared to 14%) and who will not be able to rely on networks and will be doubly penalised, by their lack of qualifications and scarce family networks. In addition, they face discrimination in recruitment on the basis of their name, origin, skin color or religion (see Brinbaum et al., 2018).
The lack of family networks is also noticeable among women of North African and Sub-Saharan African origin. Rarely recruited in this way, they find it more difficult to find work, insofar as their parents, who are more often unemployed or inactive (unemployment of fathers and inactivity of mothers), cannot help their children access the labour market.Footnote 10 And when parents do work, the concentration in sex-segregated low-skill jobs are not attractive to young women with educational qualifications.
Among the highest qualified, family ties appear marginal. Personal ties are also less important, whatever young people’s geographical origin, but they do play a role for some – about 10 to 15%. The higher educated are more likely to be recruited through other means, such as competitive examinations and advertisements (respectively 15% and 9% of the most qualified, see Table 5.9; see also chapters by Lang et al., and Keshiner and Waldring, in this volume), linked to the selectivity of advertisements. These proportions are even higher for women of the majority population (Table 5.4). It is possible however that the survey is poor at capturing the indirect personal and work ties used by the higher educated.
Moreover, the second generation women, more educated than their parents, are looking for different kinds of jobs and sectors beyond the reach of their ethnic and family networks. Educational aspirations are very high, even higher than those of the majority population with similar background, particularly among North-African descendants who aspire to social mobility (Brinbaum & Kieffer, 2005, 2009), while lacking networks and social capital to access the desired professions. In addition, they encounter a “glass ceiling”, as women and as descendants of immigrants, particularily when they are racialized. This is also true for men of this origin who are little attracted by the difficult working conditions and high risk of unemployment associated with their fathers’ jobs in industry, and thus tend to work in other jobs. So the networks that get them jobs are more often personal ties.
So let me stress the role of family and personal ties in finding a job for those without diplomas, of family ties for the children of the self-employed; while personal relationships play a role for those without diplomas and holders of vocational diplomas. Non-family personal relations also lead holders of vocational or higher education qualifications to employment.
These results show a different role of family and personal ties across origin groups as well as internal differences, according to gender, level of education, social and economic sectors.
“Once controlled for these characteristics”, some factors still play a role in access to employment. The means of getting a job differ according to gender, in connection with the gendered segmentation of the labour market (Ioannides & Datcher Loury, 2004). Young women, in general, are less likely than men to have found a job through personal ties, and more likely to have found one through direct applications (still significant when education and type of job are controlled) and through public employment intermediaries. In contrast, men were more likely to find their jobs through family ties or temporary work agencies, where jobs tend to be in male sectors and occupations.
Which channels led to jobs were also closely linked to age, education and social class: the youngest (under 25), and children of the self-employed, obtained their jobs more often through family relations. This is also true for those without a diploma, who were less likely to have found a job through direct applications or advertisements, while this is the opposite for higher education graduates.
Interestingly, although there is no significant association between origin groups and recruitment through personal relations, it is also possible that this result hides the heterogeneity of “personal” ties.
188.8.131.52 Strength of Family Ties in Access to Employment for Some Groups of Descendants
Family ties are still significant for access to employment of the Turkish second generation group, followed by the Portuguese (model M2) and South-East Asians to a lesser extent (M3), once we control for education, socio-demographic characteristics and characteristics of the job obtained (Table 5.9). This is important particularly for men of groups where the first generation was in building or industry, and in small family businesses. The Portuguese previously, and the Turkish more recently, use their co-ethnic networks and contribute to form ethnic niches.
184.108.40.206.1 The Importance of Family Networks Among Descendants of Turkish Immigrants
Compared to the majority population, descendants of Turkish immigrants found employment five times more through their family networks than through direct applications (Model 1 in Table 5.4); the effect of Turkish origin decreases but remains strong with controls for individual and job characteristics (OR = 3.6, M2; OR = 3.4, M3). So while the propensity to be recruited more by the family is partly explained by their low level of education and by their socio-demographic characteristics (they are younger on average), this kind of recruitment channel is still specific to this group.
TeO data on people who were unemployed and looking for a job at the time of the survey show the same pattern: Turkish-origin young people mobilise their family networks more than the majority population and are twice as likely to seek self-employment (See Box 5.1).
This result corroborates field research that has highlighted the strong mobilisation of resources and networks of ethnic and family relations in the access to salaried employment of young Turks recruited in “Turkish” companies (Öztürk, 2006; de Tapia, 2009). They benefit from “trust and solidarity based on shared ethnicity” (Öztürk, 2006), resources that lead them to employment despite low or medium levels of education and low socio-economic status. However, integration strategies can vary among young people depending on their level of qualification; for some, the use of Turkish – or rather family – companies is a springboard for moving on to more lucrative sectors. For others, it allows them to have a job despite their low qualifications – employers being less demanding in terms of hiring criteria (ibid.). Finally, employment can be seen as a way to accumulate sufficient capital before starting their own business and/or succeeding their parents (de Tapia, 2009). Second generations replicate the socio-economic status of their parents, who are involved in entrepreneurship in certain niche activities, such as construction.
While recruitment through relations enables them to access employment despite low qualifications and offers an opportunity for some, this also locks them into small companies in certain sectors. The economic crisis having affected the building sector badly, this leads to job insecurity and difficulties in leaving this “ethnic construction enclave” (Guillou & Wadbled, 2006). Moreover, in sectors of this kind, they are more often recruited in temporary work. In addition, women of this origin have more difficulties to find work when then they are not attracted to the maternal model where inactivity predominates.
220.127.116.11.2 Recruitment via Family Ties for the Portuguese Decreases Over Time, Across Generations, as Educational and Occupational Aspirations Increase
The results are similar, to a lesser extent, for descendants of Portuguese immigrants (OR = 1.6 in M2 then 1.7 in M3). We therefore show that family/ethnic networks of children born in France are still significant for access to employment, even if the role of these networks is less predominant than before. Family ties play less of a role in access to work of the Portuguese second generation, although personal ties (community ties?) are still important among men.
These trends depend on different sectors of entrepreneurial employment for first-generation migrants, e.g. construction among Portuguese, and later, Turkish, migrants. So networks are still important for young men of the second generations, but less so than they were among the first generation (Domingues Dos Santos, 2005; Brinbaum, 2018b) and in previous decades. For others, particularly women, the pattern has changed, as educational and occupational aspirations and attainment have increased over the decades (see the distribution of diplomas in Table 5.6). While families used to opt for apprenticeships and short vocational studies for their children – boys and girls –, as in their countries of origin, rather in line with the traditional model of worker reproduction (Baudelot & Establet, 1971), they have translated their aspirations to baccalauréat diplomas, or even to vocational studies in higher education, leading to high-skilled jobs (Brinbaum & Kieffer, 2005; Brinbaum, 2019). The self-employment model remains in some Portuguese families, as well as in Turkish families, where a model of social mobility and emancipation for girls is also emerging. We may assume that this trend will change again over time, as the level of education has increased among the Turkish second generation girls, who now surpass boys.Footnote 11
So the differences between these two groups can be explained partly by the fact that Turkish migration is much more recent in France than Portuguese migration. In both cases, second generations follow the trend of the first generation, working in ethnic niches, but over time, occupations become more diverse. Turkish Second Generation youth, who belong to newer waves of migration, rarely come from families of mixed couples, and they were brought up in families where the language of origin dominated and French was rarely spoken at home. Besides, the help and social capital provided by the Turkish families at labor market entry is noticeable and contrasts with the lack of help during the school career, linked to parental resources.Footnote 12 They may be less familiar with the codes and institutions of the French labour market. This trend is also linked to their low presence in salariat jobs, while entrepreneurship in certain niches of activity, such as construction, is prevalent, as it was in the Portuguese migration previously.
In sum, we highlight that jobs found by family ties are still important in the second generation among the descendants of Turks, Portuguese and, to a lesser extent, South-East Asians. These young people, rather low qualified, both of whose parents are immigrants, seem to use more ethnic ties which might be defined as “bonding capital” in ethnic niches. Turkish men are also more numerous among the self-employed in ethnic niches, and this contributes to their high employment. However, we observe a decrease of the share of employment obtained through these means over time – comparing the Portuguese and Turkish migrations- and between the first and second generations. In contrast, some groups rarely obtain their jobs through family ties; young people of North-African and Subsaharan African origins, especially the women, lack personal ties that can help them reach jobs and a fortiori high skilled jobs.
18.104.22.168 Lack of Networks and Reliance on Formal Intermediaries
Analysis shows that 20% of descendants of immigrants found their job via an employment agency (Table 5.2). Percentages are particularly high for some groups such as the least qualified women. While among the majority population, men are more likely to be recruited than women via this channel,Footnote 13 among North-African descendants, women are more likely to get a job through a public employment agency (26% compared with 16% of men). The same is true for descendants of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (26% compared with 20%) and Portugal (21% compared with 13%). Being less recruited by networks than men in these origin groups, women are more likely to have obtained their job in this way.
Employment agencies target certain social groups. They make it easier for the unskilled to find a job: those without diplomas are thus recruited more by employment agencies, whatever their origin (Table 5.7). This is how a quarter of young people in the majority population and descendants of immigrants from Portugal got their current job, and 22% of descendants of immigrants from the Maghreb (the figures do not allow us to isolate those without diplomas from other groups). It is mostly young people of working-class origin who get their jobs through agencies: many low-educated men in these groups get posts through temporary work agencies, while women find work through public employment agencies.
Statistical models confirm the determinants of being recruited by these channels (Table 5.9). Public employment agencies find jobs for certain profiles: women are more likely than men to get a job via this channel, as are young people over 25. Holders of a university degree, or a vocational baccalaureate, being more in demand on the labour market, are less likely to have got their job via a public employment agency. Formerly unemployed persons, on the other hand, are more likely to find their jobs through these intermediaries; as in most countries, public employment agencies are usually the last resort for both job seekers and employers; the same applies to residents outside Paris and ‘disadvantaged’ social categories.Footnote 14
Compared to the majority population, descendants of immigrants from the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, Portugal and Turkey have a higher probability of having been recruited through these intermediaries rather than direct applications (M1 Table 5.9). These origin effects persist when we control for educational attainment, socio-demographic characteristics and similar types of jobs, for descendants of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, Portugal and other EU27 countries (M2 and M3), but are no longer statistically significant for descendants of North-Africans when employment sectors are controlled.Footnote 15
Thus, women of Sub-Saharan African origins are more often recruited through a public employment agency, in particular community associations and mission locale whereas descendants of European immigrants are recruited more by the national employment agency “Pôle Emploi”.Footnote 16 Turkish descendants, both men and women, however, are more recruited by temporary work agencies.
These results underline the need for descendants of immigrants to fall back on employment intermediaries, having few direct contacts with employers. Being less recruited through personal or family networks, women in these groups rely on these intermediaries more than men. Second generation women – except in Portuguese families where mother’s activity and employment is very high – are often the first generation to be economically active. They lack effective networks to access the type of jobs they seek, and sometimes also the codes. Discrimination may occur in hiring, and they may be blocked by the “glass ceiling” associated with ethnic, racial and gender discrimination.
It is also worth noting here that perceptions of discrimination are significantly correlated with recruitment by employment intermediaries (both temporary work agencies and public employment agencies). With the available data, it is not possible to know whether the use of these channels is an individual choice or whether it constitutes the only way these people had to get a job. But in any case, even when we control for a number of variables the association remains. The young people who are most likely to say they have experienced discrimination are those of North African origin and sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom get a job through employment agencies.
To explore this question further, we may look at the young people who do not have a job and are looking for one (see Box 5.1). Young people who say they have experienced ethnic and racial discrimination are more likely than others to want to be self-employed, or to mobilize their family or friendly networks. We assume that they use these channels to avoid discrimination and difficulties encountered in hiring. These job searchers also live in more segregated areas with high rates of unemployment, a fact which may mean that many of their social relationships will not be able to provide leads to employment.
5.3.3 What Relationship Between Recruitment Channels, Network Ties and Types of Employment?
We do not have longitudinal data to estimate the impact of recruitment channels over time, but we can cross the channel by which a respondent obtained their current job with the job’s characteristics.
22.214.171.124 Networks, Sectors and Job Segregation
Recruitment through family or personal relationships has an effect on the likelihood that these young people work in a workplace where most other workers are of immigrant origin.Footnote 17
We observe a high concentration of colleagues of immigrant origin in the occupational environment of young people of Turkish origin (41%, see Table 5.4). In other words, recruitment via networks has an impact on the composition of their work environment and the constitution of “ethnic niches” (Wilson & Portes, 1980) or even “ethnic enclaves” (Guillou & Wadbled, 2006) in certain sectors. Many young people of Turkish origin work in small firms in the construction and industrial sectors (Table 5.6), sectors that recruit through networks (see also chapters by Lang et al. and Ryan in this volume). So Turkish-origin men are quite likely to work in an ethnically segregated work environment. Our study highlights a certain “ethnic homophily” on the part of Turkish employers towards young people of the same origin, in line with qualitative work on the subject (e.g. Öztürk, 2006; de Tapia, 2009).
A high “ethnic” concentration is also visible among descendants of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (Table 5.4), particularly among men in this group. This also reflects the importance of networks in their access to employment (29% found employment through their networks: 13% via family ties, 16% via other personal ties, as against only 20% of women (5% family ties, 15% personal ties)). It may also be linked to the sectors where they find employment: descendants of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa are over-represented in the “trade and transport” sectors, but above all in “collective and personal services”, which also recruit through personal relations (Tables 5.7 and 5.8).
Conversely, descendants of North African migrants, who, as we have seen, are less likely to be recruited through family relations, are less likely to be in a workplace where most workers are of migrant origin. This is also true for descendants of mixed couples and even more so for the majority population (89% of whom work in a low segregated workplace).
While the construction, trade and transport sectors are highly segregated, other sectors are less so. Sectors which have more female employees have a low score (Table 5.5). These results reflect work environments segmented by geographical origin and gender.
This analysis shows the importance of family ties in access to employment of descendants of immigrants from several origins. But it also shows that this has effects on ethnic segmentation of jobs. This leads on to my last section where I explore the association between recruitment channel used and the social characteristics of the job obtained.
126.96.36.199 Recruitment Channels and Consequences: Precarity, Social Reproduction or Social Mobility?
Correlations are shown between the recruitment channels and types of jobs, in terms of precarity, occupations and sectors (Table 5.10 M3). The channels select types of jobs in different occupations, industries and firm sizes.
Family networks lead young people three times more often to jobs in the construction sector, and to small companies where there are many descendants of Turkish and Portuguese immigrants. Temporary work agencies lead twice as often to the industrial and construction sectors (rather than trade and transport), and often to large companies. Moreover, “all other things being equal”, unqualified manual workers and skilled workers are recruited more through family and personal relations than unskilled white-collar workers.
On the other hand, jobs in administration, health and education, often in the public sector, where women are over-represented, are often obtained through public competitions (concours) or advertisements rather than through direct applications; and jobs in this sector are less likely to have been obtained through personal relations, or through public or private employment agencies. The latter – included in “other means” – lead more to permanent jobs as managers and professionals, while public employment agencies as well as temporary work agencies, lead more frequently to precarious jobs.
So in the TeO data, those who are recruited by family and community networks tend to be blocked in certain jobs and sectors and do not experience marked social mobility. So while this channel may provide security for the less qualified, and opportunities for those who become entrepreneurs and obtain good incomes, in some cases it may confine to labour market segments. Turkish men are indeed more numerous among the self-employed in ethnic niches, and this contributes to their high rate of employment despite their low education (Tables 5.1 and 5.2); but they are also less likely to hold skilled jobs.
Finally, young people who obtained their jobs through formal intermediaries are twice as likely to be on fixed-term contracts than those who were recruited through direct applications. Public and private intermediaries thus lead to more precarious, fixed-term jobs. While a quarter of women of Sub-Saharan African origin are recruited through these channels, about 39% of women in this group are on fixed-term contracts. They also are in public and service sectors where precarity has increased. So those who lack efficient networks and face discrimination are helped by public intermediaries, but these lead more often to short-term contracts. This is also the case for men hired in temporary work (numerous among the North African, Portuguese and Turkish second generations in some sectors).
Drawing on the Trajectories and Origins survey, this chapter provides new empirical results on access to employment of descendants of immigrants and in particular, on the role of networks in access to the French labour market. It demonstrates links between channels of recruitment and migratory origins, their determinants and their effects. It thus contributes to understanding employment differentials across groups, the quality of the jobs obtained, and ethnic inequalities in the labour market more generally.
The study highlights large differences in channel of recruitment by parents’ country of origin and by gender, and also differences in the specific kind of ties which led to jobs, viz. family ties rather than personal ties. Differences appear across origin groups, but also within groups, according to individual factors such as gender, education, social background, place of residence, and across sectors.
Revisiting the theory of strong/weak ties (Granovetter, 1973) in relation to descendants of immigrants, the study shows the “strength of family ties” in the recruitment of several groups, particularly for the descendants of Turkish, Portuguese and, to a lesser extent, South-East Asian immigrants, following in the footsteps of the first generation into an ethnic niche. They are “strong” insofar as they are family tiesFootnote 18 and lead them to employment despite their low education. However, these networks have some implications for the quality of the jobs obtained, and for their ethnic segregation.
In addition, this chapter shows that for some groups (e.g. Portuguese and South-East Asian second generations) both family and personal ties are important, for others only personal ties, and for some groups neither type of tie provide much access to employment. In some groups family and personal ties are more important than in others, and their determinants appear different. Personal ties, important to find a job whatever the origin, are not significantly associated with the country of origin, contrary to family ties. These results invite us to distinguish between family and personal ties; personal ties seem to be rather friends here, although we would need further precisions between friends, acquaintances, work relationships to avoid any ambiguity, as well as the country of origin of the different ties.
The consequences of finding jobs through family ties are mixed. These networks give access to employment for young people, especially those who have low educational qualifications, and children of parents running a small business. While these networks favour the occupational integration of a certain number of young people, they also fuel the ethnic and gender segmentation of jobs, as these young people find themselves confined to certain sectors and segments of the labour market. For some, these networks lead to social reproduction, rather than social mobility between generations; in other words, to a “mobility trap” (Portes, 1998; Kalter & Kogan, 2014; Brinbaum, 2018a). This is true in particular for some Portuguese and Turkish second generation men, who are also more numerous among the self-employed in ethnic niches like construction (cf. Waldinger, 2005).
If we compare Portuguese migration with the more recent Turkish migration, we can also see how the role of family ties in access to employment changes over time and waves of migration. The second generations of these groups follow in the footsteps of the first generations, using the resources and networks of their families and co-ethnics, working in ethnic niches. However, the share of family ties decreases between the first and second generation and over time, as educational and occupational aspirations have increased with the democratization of education. Educational attainment increases across generations, particularly among women; and occupations become correspondingly more diverse. So work ties and personal ties become more important paths into employment than family ties.
The results also bring out the lack of networks, whether of family or personal ties, among the North-African and Subsaharan second generations, particularly women. Since many fathers in these groups are unemployed and many mothers economically inactive, they are less likely to have useful network links for their children. And if the parents work they are mostly in manual jobs unlikely to attract their children, whose aspirations (and often, educational attainment) are high. Some compensate for this lack of networks by using more formal methods: in fact, they are more likely to find a job through employment agencies.
The study also highlights the role of employment agencies in access to employment of descendants of immigrants from some backgrounds. Young people who are more exposed to unemployment because of their low social class background, because they live in segregated and stigmatized area, and moreover face discrimination, are more likely than others to be hired through employment intermediaries rather than through spontaneous applications.
Lack of networks disadvantage many of the least qualified, but also the educated, who are numerous among second generations. Women with a racialised background are the most affected. The study does not allow us to ascertain whether these results are the consequence of – ethnic and gender – discrimination from employers and a “glass ceiling” for the most qualified, but our data do show the need for these groups to rely on employment agencies to get a job. More than others, they need intermediaries and support measures to help them find employment. These results make the case for public policies that follow this logic. However, they are more likely to obtain precarious jobs through these channels and these trends are reinforced with the economic crisis. They need additional networks or intermediaries (professionals, associations, mentoring, etc) particularly to establish bonds of trust and reduce discrimination. This also involves direct actions to fight against direct and indirect discrimination and racism.
While this study opens up some avenues of research it has limitations that need to be overcome in future quantitative surveys. These surveys need to take into account both the search techniques unemployed job-seekers use and which channels are actually successful for the same individuals. They also need information to make it possible to distinguish between the various types of ties (family/personal/professional ties and also co-ethnic vs. non-co-ethnic ones) and to understand the consequences use of a particular recruitment channel have on the workplace environment (ethnic composition of the workplace), and on social mobility. Longitudinal data would be useful to explore further the links between recruitment channels and professional careers, and to analyse social mobility of the second generation. Other mechanisms and larger-scale surveys should be considered, both among employers and young people, with large samples and over-representation of particular origin groups. We also lack large datasets in a comparative perspective. This book will however make an important contribution across countries.
The recruitment market, which includes temporary employment agencies, public agencies, etc., is a highly complex one. Personal intermediaries are networks of relationships: family, friends, colleagues etc.
Understood as a tendency to recruit people with a similar background, in this case, from the same migrant origin.
We use the data from 2008 to 2009, because the data from the new TeO survey are not available yet.
In previous work, where the category of descendants of immigrants was defined “with at least one immigrant parent” and “family” and “personal” ties were gathered, we didn’t find any significant association between origin and ties (Brinbaum & Rieucau, 2012).
Non-ordered polytomous models were used since the variable to be explained is of a qualitative nature and respondents had to choose between a series of channels by which they obtained their job.
We do not measure causalities but correlations. Perveived discrimination is measured when individuals answered yes to the question “During the past five years, were you ever unjustly refused employment?” and explain it by a discriminatory ground. This supplementary model can be sent under request.
The distinction between the nature of the ties brings new evidence and larger differences across groups. The role of family ties is more important for children whose both parents are immigrants.
The Turkish, Norh African and South-East Asian descendants are also more frequently recruited by temporary work agencies, particularly among men. Schools and training bodies play a role mainly for young men of Asian origin (14%), who are also the most highly qualified, and a little for Turkish and Portuguese second generations with low vocational diplomas.
In addition, Portuguese and Turkish second generation men are more likely to be self-employed in building, like their fathers. However, TeO did not ask the self-employed how they got their job.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to compare the results between recruitment channels and detailed origins for each level of qualification.
They don’t have the networks to access to internship during their studies and then to employment.
See Brinbaum (2019) on recent data.
While family educational involvement was very low – little parental help with schoolwork, due to low educational capital and little knowledge of French – they are heavily involved in their children’s entry into the labour market. While some families focus on school as the means to social mobility, others prefer a model of working-class reproduction through jobs. Family resources are thus implemented at different points in children’s trajectories (Brinbaum, 2012).
This result reflects recruitment through temporary work agencies, which are used more by males.
A more detailed exploratory analysis of the TeO survey data shows that employment agencies, which are more or less specialised, recruit different profiles.
Men, mostly no or little qualified, are more recruited in male sectors through temporary work agencies.
Mission locale: is a local public agency whose aim is to promote the social and occupational integration of young people (16–25). Pole Emploi is a public administrative establishment responsible for employment in France.
The TeO question which measures segregated work environment is based on respondent’s perception, but is still interesting. There is a significant relationship between recruitment patterns and the indicator of ethnic segregation (based on chi-square statistics).
If the dichotomies hold for part of some origin groups, this is not the case for all.
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Box 5.1: Job Search Methods by Origin Groups
How are second-generation youth of different origins seeking work? The TeO survey asked the job seekers, who where unemployed at the time of the survey, about their methods, with a list of items and multiple choices. Unfortunately, we don’t know the job search methods of those who are employed, but it’s interesting to know whether there are similarities or differences in the job search by origin groups and link it with the means of finding a job. Results are presented below:
Job-search methods by origin (in %)
Country of birth of parents
Informal methods: Networks of relations
Mission locale Associations
All descendants of migrants
An important job-search effort for all with different use of networks across origin groups
Overall, the descendants of immigrants who are searching for a job use as many methods as the majority population, i.e. almost five on average. Whatever their origin, young people are making an important research effort. The main methods are: direct applications to employers, use of networks, and answers to advertisements; most young people declare they have contacted the public employment agency (ANPE at the time of the survey). However, all the origin groups do not use the same methods.
The majority of the descendants of immigrants mobilize their networks, as much as the majority population (around 75%), with however less use of family ties and rather more friendship ties, except for the Turkish descendants where family ties are more frequent. South-East Asian and Portuguese second generations use their friends’ networks a lot in addition to their family’s networks, while those of North African origin use these relational networks less compared to other groups.
Compared to the majority population, descendants of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa contact more public institutions such as “local missions” or community associations, and, like the descendants of South-East Asians, contact public agencies for employment (ANPE) less.
In contrast, the descendants of Turkish origin respond less to advertisements and do less direct applications, but they are more likely to try to be self-employed or entrepreneurs. North Africans use their personal networks less to get a job and try more to pass through temporary work agencies.
Job-search methods are more linked to education and social background than origins, except for the descendants of Turks
Do these differences reflect different behaviors linked to ethnic origin or do they reflect unequal resources (in terms of diplomas, social origin, place of residence etc.) young people have to look for a job, through any channel, given the particularity of each of these channels? To answer this question, statistical models were built to explain each of these job-search practices “other things being equal”, taking into account the demographic, social, family, school and residential characteristics, as well as the feeling of discrimination in employment expressed by the respondents. This feeling is more pronounced among certain groups, such as the descendants of immigrants from North-Africa, Sub-Sahara and Turkey, that can interact with the channels used.
Statistical models suggest that job-search depend more on diploma, social origin and, to a lesser extent, on the labour market experience or place of residence, than to the migratory origin (see Table below).
Job-search methods by origin: probability to search a job by a method
Gross and net effects of origins on different job search methods (odds ratios)
Networks (Family & Friends)
South of Europe
Compared to the majority population with similar characteristics, origin is not significant, except for the Turkish descendants: children of migrants are less likely to make direct applications, formal or institutional methods – such as advertisements or contacting the public employment agency – but are more likely to be self-employed (OR = 2.2).
Young people of Turkish origin differ from the majority population: they do less direct applications and respond to advertisements less. It is possible that there is a self-selection process due to their modest social origins and their lower level of education: they are more likely to be without a diploma or with just a short vocational one and they may feel less comfortable when selection is based on writing. They also use less institutional and formal methods in general, and more frequently their family networks. They are more likely to want to be self-employed (odds = 2.2); they are, moreover, over-represented among independents when they are employed like their fathers. Hence, the effect of origin persists, once education and socio-economic characteristics are controlled for (see M2, Table 5.2), suggesting a specific pattern for the Turkish group.
Job search methods depend more on education, social background (and social capital) and to a lesser extent the place of residence. Use of formal methods, such as registration at the state unemployment employment agency (ANPE) decreases when interviewees live outside Paris or their mothers are inactive. Networks can be mobilized less in segregated areas (ZUS), where unemployment is higher and there are fewer relationships that can lead to employment.
Conversely, having independent parents, executives or professional increases the probability of using personal networks. This specialization of channels is not in favor of second-generation youth, especially those of African or North African origins: because they live more often than the majority population in segregated and depreived neighborhoods and receive less parental occupational support (their parents and peers are more often unemployed), therefore they have fewer networks to mobilize. On the other hand, they will use more often the public agencies such as « missions locales » or take examinations.
Young people who express ethnic discrimination – based on their origin or their skin color – are more likely than others to try to be self-employed or to mobilize their family or friendship networks. We can assume that they try to avoid discrimination and access to stable employment.
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Brinbaum, Y. (2022). Access to Employment of the Second Generations in France: Unequal Role of Family and Personal Networks by Origins and Gender. In: Keskiner, E., Eve, M., Ryan, L. (eds) Revisiting Migrant Networks. IMISCOE Research Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94972-3_5
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