The Implications of Labor Market Integration of Refugees in Denmark: A Case Study of Syrian Refugees’ Experience With Labor Market Integrationin the Municipality of Copenhagen

Rikke M. Herbst-Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Objective: This thesis seeks to understand how Syrian refugees experience the process and define the challenges of labor market integration in the municipality of Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of the most successful municipalities when it comes to labor market integration of refugees with almost half of the allocated refugees in employment. Perhaps due to the fact that the majority of refugees are deemed job ready upon arrival. However, more than half still struggle to find employment. Therefore, I speculated if the interaction between refugees and job consultant could hold the key to explaining the remaining labor market integration challenges.
Context: Job consultants evaluate individual competencies and guide the refugees in their search for employment. The job consultants in Copenhagen are given 4 weeks to fulfill this task. I decided to explore the communication between refugees and job consultants with a culture and knowledge sharing approach. I employ Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s (2012) 7 dimensions of culture as well as the SECI model (Nonaka et al., 2006) to explore national culture and how it potentially affects the knowledge sharing practices between the Syrian refuges and the Danish job consultants.
Research design: It is an exploratory case study consisting of mixed methods.
Data collection: I have chosen to conduct semi-structured interviews with a job consultant and Syrian refugees. I have also exercised the method of observation as well as gathered electronic research.
Analysis: Qualitative data was analyzed through coding and presented in narratives derived from the data structure.
Findings: My findings identified 7 challenges to labor market integration for Syrian refugees that are caused by both cultural differences and deficient knowledge sharing practices. The results both corroborate with previous studies such as uncovering evidence of the happy migrant effect and conversely provide new insights such as with criticism of internships.
Conclusion and recommendations: Thereby, this study contributes with new knowledge in a largely unexplored field. Indicating that a dual focus on cultural awareness and improved knowledge sharing practices in the job center positively influences labor market integration of refugees. Additionally, I recommend the execution of similar case studies in other municipalities to lay the groundwork for comparative research analysis of the municipalities and discover best practices.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages82