Integration at Work

How workplace policies affect labor market inequality between native and foreign-born apprentices in Germany

Project Description

Aims and Central Research Question

We explore workplace integration of migrant apprentices in the short and longer term. In the short term, we look into social acceptance, acculturation, identification and perceived fit, and job performance in the apprenticeship workplace. In the long term, we are interested in the successful completion of apprenticeships and in follow-up employment contracts. To explain these outcomes, we analyze how they are influenced by organizational factors, such as recruitment processes and socialization tactics, individual characteristics such as language skills and social ties, and school-related factors like coaching and business cooperation programs.


How well migrants are integrated into a society is in no small way dependent on labor market integration. In Germany, increased vocational training programs enable standardized qualification and theoretically support a smooth transition into stable employment for migrants. Nevertheless, apprentices with migrant backgrounds drop out from vocational training much more often than German apprentices, indicating problems with their integration. While the importance of individual characteristics and of macro-societal factors for these processes is well-recognized in the literature, the role of organizations has been neglected. To fill this gap, we will focus on the role of organizations’ policies for the short- and long-term integration of immigrant apprentices.


We will collect longitudinal data covering the whole three-year vocational training period of 1.300 immigrant apprentices and a comparable control group of native-born peers. Apprentices will answer short weekly surveys during the first 12 weeks, followed by surveys in three-month intervals until the end of their apprenticeship. To better understand the organizational conditions of successful and failed workplace integration of immigrant employees, the apprentice surveys will be complemented by surveys of direct supervisors and HR representatives.


Management, Sociology, Organization Studies, Educational Research

Starting Date

1 October 2019

Project Partners