The Recent Fast Upsurge of Immigrants in Spain and Their Employment Patterns and Occupational Attainment



This article provides an analysis of employment and occupational attainment of recent immigrants to Spain. We use data from the Spanish labour force surveys for the years between 2002 and 2007 and compare the probability of being active versus inactive and that of being employed versus unemployed among immigrants and native-born Spaniards, using logistic regression models. The paper then moves on to investigate the quality of the occupation achieved by means of multinomial logistic regression models. We find evidence that immigrants are not at a disadvantage in comparison to native-born Spaniards regarding the risk of unemployment. This is true even after controlling for differences in socio-demographic characteristics between immigrants and Spaniards and, in particular, after accounting for the duration of time spent in the labour market. On the other hand, a strong and persistent disadvantage even after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics is confirmed for immigrants as far as their access to skilled occupations is concerned. Furthermore, this disadvantage does not disappear as time spent in the host country increases. Our findings, thus, go against the assimilation hypothesis that predicts that immigrant’s occupational attainment should progressively converge to that of natives.