With a Little Help from My Friends: Social-network Job Search and Overqualification among Recent Intra-EU Migrants Moving from East to West

Janine Leschke*, Silvana Weiss

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article examines the relationship between social networks as a job-finding channel and overqualification among recent EU migrants from Central Eastern to Western European countries. Social networks composed of relatives, friends or acquaintances can facilitate access to employers and thereby enhance labour market integration. However, when labour markets are segmented, (co-ethnic) social networks might also contribute to locking migrants into sectors and occupations characterised by high migrant shares, increasing the probability of a mismatch between skills and occupations. Drawing on data from the special module on migrants and their descendants in the 2014 European Labour Force Survey, this article considers subjective and objective overqualification. The analysis reveals that finding jobs through social networks bears a higher risk of overqualification in general, and especially for recent Central Eastern European migrants. The results point to a complex relationship between social-network job search, sectoral segmentation and destination-country language proficiency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)769-788
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 3. July 2020


  • CEE migrants
  • EU-LFS data
  • Intra-EU labour mobility
  • Job search
  • Language skills
  • Objective overqualification
  • Sectors
  • Segmentation
  • Social networks
  • Subjective overqualification

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