Chapter 4. Labour market outcomes of Romanian emigrants

This chapter examines the labour market situation of working-age Romanian emigrants through several key indicators and compares it to that of other groups of emigrants and the native-born population. While they have above-average employment rates, Romanian emigrants also have relatively high unemployment levels across all their main OECD destination countries, except in Canada and the United States. A closer look focuses on developments over time, including changes in labour market integration due to the economic crisis, suggesting that the unemployment rate gap between Romanian emigrants and native-born increased in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Despite generally greater employment levels, job creation has been sluggish for highly educated Romanian emigrants between 2000 and 2015. The industries and occupations in which Romanian emigrants work tend to be unskilled, except for a few specific professions, such as doctors and nurses. Finally, the high rate of over-qualification among emigrants indicates lower job quality.

    

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

This chapter deals with the labour market integration of Romanian emigrants. The indicators of labour market participation, employment and unemployment are presented for all Romanian emigrants in OECD countries. These results are also analysed by gender, as well as across destination countries and over time, to take into account the impact of the economic crisis that has hit the main European destination countries on the labour market integration of Romanian emigrants. A detailed analysis is devoted to the distribution of migrants across sectors and occupations, with a particular focus on over-qualification rates, perception of skills underuse, and actual use of “soft” skills in the workplace. A case study of the emigration of Romanian health professionals concludes.

Labour market integration is comparatively difficult

Labour market participation and employment rates of Romanian emigrants are overall higher than those of natives

In 2015/16, 76% of Romanian working-age emigrants participated in the labour markets of OECD countries, a rate 2 percentage points higher than that of the native-born population (Figure 4.1). This rate of labour market participation was also greater than that of the general foreign-born population (73%) and that of emigrants from Romania’s neighbouring countries (72%). Remarkably, the relatively high labour market participation of Romanian emigrants is driven by both greater employment rates and greater unemployment rates in comparison to native-born persons.

In terms of employment rates, 68% of the OECD’s labour force born in Romania were employed in 2015/16, compared to 67% of the native-born. There are however important differences by gender. Throughout the OECD, women born in Romania have an employment rate of 62%, while that of their male peers reaches as high as 74%. On the other hand, the employment rate of native-born women is similar to that of women born in Romania, but the gender gap is narrower, with native-born men having an employment rate of only 72%. This is again reflected in labour market participation: whereas natives experience a 10-percentage-point gender gap in participation rates, this rises to 12 percentage points for Romanian emigrants.

It is worth analysing the trends in labour market participation and employment in the three major destination countries for Romanian emigrants in the OECD area, as they highlight interesting patterns (Figure 4.1). First, in contrast to the general OECD-wide picture, where women have similar labour market integration regardless of their migration background, in Italy, Romanian women fare much better than their native-born counterparts. In a similar vein, albeit to a lesser extent, Romanian male emigrants also outperform Italian men, with higher participation rates – 83% and 73% respectively – and higher employment rates – 71% and 65% respectively.

Figure 4.1. Participation and employment rates by country of birth and gender, 2015/16
Figure 4.1. Participation and employment rates by country of birth and gender, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

In Spain, while employment rates are similar by gender for Romanian emigrants and the native-born (approximately 55% for women and 65% for men), important differences emerge in the participation rates by migration status. For both men and women, Romanian emigrants have a participation greater than natives by around 8 percentage points. As will be shown further below, this is almost entirely due to Romanians’ high unemployment levels in Spain. Finally, Germany displays a different pattern, with Romanian emigrant women lagging somewhat behind native-born women in terms of employment rates (-3 percentage points), whilst Romanian men still show a clear advantage in the labour market compared to male natives.

Although highly educated emigrants have higher employment rates, job creation is greater for the low educated

Analysing employment levels by educational attainment sheds additional light on the labour market integration of Romanian emigrants in OECD countries, and particularly it points at three stylised facts. First, the most recent data from 2015/16 show that the employment rate of Romanian emigrants is higher than that of native-born across all educational levels, except in the case of the tertiary educated (top panel of Figure 4.2). This is, however, a common pattern among foreign-born from a wide range of origin countries, and not a specificity of the migrants born in Romania.

Second, independently of the country of birth, employment rates increase with educational attainment, albeit less so in the case of Romanian emigrants. For instance, both high educated native-born and emigrants from neighbouring countries were employed almost twice as much as their low educated peers in 2015/16. In contrast, the employment rate of Romanian emigrant is 56% if low educated and 78% if high educated.

Third, despite having lower employment rates in absolute values, during the period 2000-2015 the low educated experienced the greatest employment rate growth (bottom panel of Figure 4.2). Indeed, the employment rate of low educated Romanian emigrants grew by 39% between 2000/01 and 2005/06, 7% between 2005/06 and 2010/11, and 10% between 2010/11 and 2015/16, compared to that of the high educated, which was respectively, 3%, 6% and 5%. Again, this holds in general for the overall foreign-born population.

Figure 4.2. Employment rates by country of birth in OECD countries and their growth over time, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16
Figure 4.2. Employment rates by country of birth in OECD countries and their growth over time, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11, 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

The labour market integration of Romanian emigrants also varies depending on the reasons for their migration. Emigrants who left their country of birth for work purposes have better employment rates than family migrants (Figure 4.3). In particular, those Romanians who found a job at destination before arrival have an employment rate of 75%. In contrast, the employment rate of Romanians arriving at destination for work purposes but without a job is lower by approximately 5 percentage points – and it remains constant regardless of the years of residence at destination. In contrast, Romanians migrating for family-related reasons have an employment rate of just 42%, even after residing in the country for more than five years.

Figure 4.3. Employment rates of Romanian emigrants by reason for migration in a selection of European countries, 2014
Figure 4.3. Employment rates of Romanian emigrants by reason for migration in a selection of European countries, 2014

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64). The destination countries included are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. “Settled” refers to having resided in the destination country for more than five years.

Source: European Labour Force Survey (Eurostat) 2014 ad-hoc module on the labour market situation of immigrants and their descendants.

The children of Romanian immigrants, i.e. children born in the country of residence with at least one parent born in Romania, also face labour market challenges, especially in Europe (Figure 4.4). Indeed, their employment rate remains overall lower than that of the whole population (48% versus 63%). Yet, distinguishing performances by the level of educational attainment of the parents points at interesting findings. For instance, in general for the whole population, the education of the parents has a marginal effect on the employment rates of their offspring. In contrast, the children of Romanian migrants show significant heterogeneity based on the qualification of the parents: descendants of low-educated Romanians have an employment rate of 43%, whilst children of tertiary-educated Romanian immigrants have a much higher employment rate (56%).

Figure 4.4. Employment rates by parents’ education and country of birth in a selection of European countries, 2014
Figure 4.4. Employment rates by parents’ education and country of birth in a selection of European countries, 2014

Note: The destination countries included are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Source: European Labour Force Survey (Eurostat) 2014 ad-hoc module on the labour market situation of immigrants and their descendants.

High level of unemployment among Romanian emigrants

As previously mentioned, the unemployment level of Romanian emigrants across OECD countries considerably exceeds that of the native-born (Figure 4.5). In fact, while the average unemployment rate among Romanian emigrants in OECD countries was 13%, only 7% of the native-born labour force who wanted a job did not have one in 2015/16. Similarly, also the unemployment rate of those emigrants from neighbouring countries was 7%.

Yet, in spite of Romanians’ general disadvantage in the labour market, the picture stemming from country-level disaggregated data is one of great heterogeneity. In Austria and France, unemployment among Romanian emigrants is twice as high as among their native-born counterparts. Smaller gaps between Romanian emigrants and natives exist in Germany, Belgium and Italy, whereas no significant differences with the native-born population exist in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, in North America Romanians perform slightly better than natives in the labour market, ultimately because selective migration policies in the United States and Canada attract high-educated individuals with better job prospects.

Figure 4.5. Unemployment rates by country of birth in OECD countries, 2015/16
Figure 4.5. Unemployment rates by country of birth in OECD countries, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64). This figure features the top ten OECD countries for Romanian emigrants, except for Hungary, for which data on native-born are not available.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

It is worth taking an historical look at the labour market integration of Romanians in the OECD in order to understand when their underperformance emerged. Indeed, at the beginning of the 2000s, the unemployment rate of Romanian emigrants was only one percentage point higher than that of the native-born workforce (Figure 4.6). In comparison, migrants from neighbouring countries had an unemployment rate three percentage points higher than natives. However, the economic crisis of 2008/09 profoundly changed this balance. Data from 2010/11 show that the unemployment rate gap between natives and Romanian emigrants rose to ten percentage points, while that between natives and the whole foreign-born labour force dropped from three percentages points in 2000/01 to two percentage points in 2010/11. Although their unemployment rate has slightly recovered, Romanian emigrants still had higher unemployment rates than natives by about six percentage points in 2015/16. Conversely, emigrants from neighbouring countries converged to the same unemployment levels as their native-born counterparts.

Romanian women living abroad in particular lag behind the labour market performance of natives. Their unemployment rate was 15% in 2015/16, over twice as high as that of native-born women (7%). In comparison, the unemployment rate of Romanian men was 12% (i.e. four percentage points more than that of their native-born counterparts). As shown in Figure 4.6, the double disadvantage of Romanian women in OECD countries has persisted since the 2000s. Yet, the unemployment rate gap between native- and foreign-born women has risen at half the pace of that between the overall native- and foreign-born labour forces, suggesting that the gender gap is slowly closing.

Figure 4.6. Unemployment rate gap between foreign- and native-born in OECD countries, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16
Figure 4.6. Unemployment rate gap between foreign- and native-born in OECD countries, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11, 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

It is also illustrative to look at the unemployment trends in the three major destination countries for Romanian emigrants to better understand the heterogeneous role played by the economic crisis on the labour market integration of the foreign-born. Figure 4.7 clearly shows that the recession hit Spain harder than both Italy and Germany. Between 2005/06 and 2010/11, the unemployment rate of Spaniards more than doubled, from 11% to 28%. In comparison, Italians’ unemployment rate increased by 4 percentage points, and, remarkably, Germany saw a 4 percentage-point reduction of the unemployment of natives over the same period.

The picture for Romanian emigrants in these three countries emphasizes the heterogeneous impact of the crisis on the host labour markets. In less affected countries such as Germany, Romanian emigrants almost halved their unemployment rates, reaching as low as 5% in 2010/11. In contrast, in Italy, Romanians had been hit slightly harder than natives, although their unemployment in 2010/11 remained similar to the one of 2000/01. On the other hand, in countries such as Spain, where the crisis has been particularly severe, Romanian emigrants had to pay a much greater price than natives. Indeed, while both Spaniards and Romanians had a similar unemployment rate of roughly 11% in 2005/06, the crisis brought it up to 28% for the native-born and 42% for emigrants born in Romania in 2010/11. This reflects the vicious circle affecting migrants during economic crisis: not only do migrants lose jobs because of a deteriorating economic environment, but they also have to compete with natives for the fewer existing job opportunities. In addition, immigrants’ unemployment reacts more strongly to the economic cycle because migrants are less complementary to capital than the native-born and because they usually experience higher job separation rates (Dustmann, Glitz and Vogel, 2010[1]).

Figure 4.7. Unemployment rates by country of birth in selected OECD countries, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16
Figure 4.7. Unemployment rates by country of birth in selected OECD countries, 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11 and 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2000/01, 2005/06, 2010/11, 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Romanian emigrants are over-represented in low-skilled professions

Emigrants are particularly clustered in low-skilled occupations, although there is large heterogeneity across destination countries

So far, analysis has shown that Romanian emigrants are more likely to be unemployed than their native-born peers, but what is the nature of their jobs? This is an important aspect of the labour market integration of migrants, since the quality of work is fundamental for their career prospects, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. A more detailed look at the data shows that Romanian emigrants in OECD countries are on average about three times as likely as natives to work in elementary occupations (Figure 4.8): 26% of Romanian emigrants worked in low-skilled jobs in 2015/16, compared to only 9% of the native born. In parallel, they are half as likely as natives to work in high-skilled jobs, such as managerial or technical positions (18% compared to 39% for natives). This relative underrepresentation of Romanian emigrants in high-skilled employment is however not illustrative of the overall foreign-born population, which taken together has the same proportion of high-skilled jobs as the natives.

Figure 4.8. Distribution of workers by country of birth and occupation in OECD countries, 2015/16
Figure 4.8. Distribution of workers by country of birth and occupation in OECD countries, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the 15+ employed population.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Country-level analysis reveals striking heterogeneity (Figure 4.9). In fact, in countries such as the United Kingdom and Austria about one in every five Romanians works in high-skilled jobs. In contrast, in Spain and Italy, only 5% of Romanian emigrants hold high-skilled occupations. In France and Canada, however, over one-third and two-thirds, respectively, of Romanians are either managers, professionals or technicians. In a similar vein, while on average across OECD countries, a fourth of Romanian emigrants work in elementary occupations, this proportion rises to 38% in the case of Spain.

Figure 4.9. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation in the main OECD destination countries, 2015/16
Figure 4.9. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation in the main OECD destination countries, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the 15+ employed population.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Women are more likely to work in elementary occupations

While it is true that Romanian emigrants are overall more likely to work in low-skilled jobs, gender differences in the distribution of Romanians across occupations are particularly pronounced. Indeed, across OECD countries, a fifth of Romanian men work in elementary occupations compared to over a third of women (Figure 4.10). Similarly, women are also over-represented among sales workers (30% versus 10% of men) and among technicians and associate professionals (10% versus 6% of men). In contrast, only 4% of women are employed as craft and related trade workers, while this category represents almost a third of the employment of all Romanian men in the OECD. Another typical gender-biased occupation is the one of plant and machine operators and assemblers, where the share of men is four times the share of women.

Figure 4.10. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation and gender in OECD countries, 2015/16
Figure 4.10. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation and gender in OECD countries, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the 15+ employed population.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

However, the picture stemming from country-level data is again mixed (Figure 4.11). In Spain, Romanian women are twice as likely as men to work in low-skilled occupations, which employed more than half of female migrants in 2015/16. The gender gap in low-skilled employment is smaller in Germany and the United Kingdom, where women are less than ten percentage points more likely than men to work in elementary occupations, whereas the share of women in low-skilled employment is lowest in Canada (3%).

Figure 4.11 points at additional interesting stylized facts about the different occupations held by Romanian women and men across their main OECD destination countries. While almost half of Romanian male emigrants in Italy are craft workers, only 4% of Romanian woman work in this type of occupation. Although to a lesser extent, this is also the case across all major host countries but the United Kingdom. Romanian men tend to be over-represented compared to women also in managerial positions, especially in the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, with the remarkable exception of France, where Romanian women are almost twice as likely as men to be managers. Finally, skilled agricultural professions are not the main occupation of Romanians regardless of their gender, although they employ more than 4% of male emigrants in Spain, Italy and France.

Figure 4.11. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation and gender in main destination countries, 2015/16
Figure 4.11. Distribution of Romanian emigrants by occupation and gender in main destination countries, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the 15+ employed population.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Over-qualification rates are higher for Romanian emigrants than for other foreign-born

Over-qualification occurs when an individual’s level of formal education is higher than what is required for the occupation held. It is estimated as the proportion of persons with a tertiary education degree who hold a low- or medium-skilled occupation. Among immigrants, the over-qualification rate becomes an indicator for the degree of transferability of human capital across countries, as the qualifications and linguistic skills acquired in the country of origin are not always readily transferable in the host country, although it may also capture discrimination in the labour market, asymmetries of information on job availability, etc.

Figure 4.12 suggests that Romanian emigrants in OECD countries were more likely to be over-qualified than both the other foreign-born and the native-born in 2015/16. Regardless of their gender, tertiary-educated Romanians have almost a one in two chance of working in lower skilled occupations. The share is only 26% for similar migrants born in neighbouring countries. Yet, what is even more remarkable is that over-qualification has been growing over time: between 2000/01 and 2015/16, the over-qualification rate of Romanian emigrants increased by 16% (although at a slower pace for women, 11%). Over the same period, emigrants from neighbouring countries instead experienced a 7% reduction in their over-qualification. These outcomes might reflect Romanians’ relatively low knowledge of the language spoken in the host country, limited access to professional networks, or the difficult formal recognition of skills acquired abroad, to cite some factors among many.

Figure 4.12. Over-qualification rates by country of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2015/16 and change between 2010/11 and 2015/16
Figure 4.12. Over-qualification rates by country of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2015/16 and change between 2010/11 and 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the 15+ employed population.

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2010/11, 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

A large share of emigrants perceives that their skills are underutilised in the workplace

Not only are Romanian emigrants more likely than natives to be over-qualified, but they themselves perceive that their full potential is not exploited in the host countries. When asked whether they feel that they have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than those required to perform their current job, almost nine out of ten Romanian emigrants agree, compared to 81% of the native-born workers (Figure 4.13). Self-perceived underuse of skills and skills mismatch are important for proper integration of migrants, since they affect workers’ earnings and job satisfaction (OECD, 2018[2]).

Figure 4.13. Share of workers who feel that their skills are underutilised by country of birth, 2012/15
Figure 4.13. Share of workers who feel that their skills are underutilised by country of birth, 2012/15

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64). The exact variable is “Do you feel that you have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than those you are required to perform in your current job?”. The destination countries included are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Source: Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (2012, 2015).

It is interesting to analyse which set of skills Romanian emigrants underuse at work. Five indicators are taken into consideration: (1) use of ICT skills at work; (2) use of influencing skills at work; (3) use of planning skills at work; (4) task discretion at work; and (5) managing other employees. Overall, these indicators measure job complexity, with influencing and managing also capturing “soft” skills. Results point at a difference between native- and foreign-born workers’ outcomes, with migrants less likely to use all different types of skills at work (Figure 4.14). In particular, after controlling for individual characteristics, Romanian emigrants appear 12% less likely than natives to use influencing skills at work and 10% less likely to manage other employees. These are significant gaps in “soft” skills that are important in modern workplaces. Task discretion at work is also significantly lower for Romanian emigrants than for native-born workers. Finally, the use of ICT skills among Romanians is 5% lower than among natives.

Figure 4.14. Gap between foreign- and native-born in skill use at work, 2012/15
Figure 4.14. Gap between foreign- and native-born in skill use at work, 2012/15

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64). The results in this figure are the adjusted differences between the group considered and the reference group of native-born workers. The regressions control for age, age squared, gender, education, marital status, number of children and occupation dummies. “n.s.” indicate coefficients which are not statistically significant (at 5% level). The destination countries included are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Source: Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (2012, 2015).

Many Romanian emigrants work in low-skilled sectors

The distribution of Romanian emigrants is skewed towards certain sectors of activity

Looking at the distribution of migrant workers across sectors confirms that many Romanians work in sectors where the majority of occupations are low skilled (Figure 4.15). For example, in 2010/11 Romanians were over-represented relative to native-born persons in manufacturing, construction, and accommodation and catering. Remarkably, throughout the OECD area Romanian emigrants are 16 times as likely as natives to work in private household activities involving employment of domestic staff. On the other hand, there are proportionally fewer Romanian emigrants in sectors where jobs tend to be more skilled, for example financial and insurance activities, professional scientific and technical activities, and education. Less than 3% of Romanian emigrants worked in education in 2010/11, for example, compared with 7% of native-born persons.

The sectoral distribution of the Romanian diaspora can be explained by their relatively low educational attainment, especially in some of the main OECD destination countries, such as Italy and Spain (see Chapter 3). In turn, the low level of education of Romanians in these countries is likely to be due to the fact that the wage premium for Romanians migrating to Southern Europe is larger for the low skilled than for the high skilled (Ambrosini et al., 2015[3]). Furthermore, in several countries, Romanian emigrants fill labour needs, especially for unqualified labour in some Southern European countries. Ban (2012[4]) discusses a whole informal network of Romanian head-hunters in countries such as Italy aimed at the recruitment of cheap unskilled labour from Romania, often working in the informal economy.

Figure 4.15. Sectoral distribution of workers by country of birth, 2010/11
Figure 4.15. Sectoral distribution of workers by country of birth, 2010/11

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2010/11, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Heterogeneity across main host countries remains large (Table 4.1). For instance, in contrast to the other destinations, in Italy and Spain large segments of the Romanian emigrant population work in agriculture – respectively, 9% and 12% in 2010/11 – and in activities of households as employers – 15% and 12%. In Belgium and in the United Kingdom, instead, around 23% and 11% respectively of Romanians work in administrative and support service activities. Romanian workers are important in the manufacturing industry of Germany and Austria, whilst in Canada they provide – more than in any other country – a significant contribution to the educational system.

Table 4.1. Sectoral distribution of Romanian emigrants by main destination country, 2010/11
Percentage

 

Austria

Belgium

Canada

Germany

France

Italy

Spain

United Kingdom

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

1.9

2.7

0.5

0.7

1.2

8.9

12.3

0.7

Mining and quarrying

0.0

0.0

0.7

0.0

0.3

0.4

0.3

0.1

Manufacturing

19.0

6.4

14.2

27.7

7.4

15.7

11.8

4.6

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

0.5

0.1

0.9

1.0

0.4

0.6

0.5

0.2

Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

0.0

0.2

0.0

0.4

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.5

Construction

14.2

21.1

6.3

6.3

16.7

17.7

16.9

23.6

Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

9.7

9.6

12.9

12.1

8.8

5.2

8.9

8.9

Transportation and storage

5.0

4.1

5.5

4.7

2.8

4.7

6.2

4.8

Accommodation and food service activities

13.6

6.2

3.2

5.3

5.3

11.5

13.7

12.9

Information and communication

1.2

2.8

7.5

2.9

4.8

0.7

0.9

2.7

Financial and insurance activities

0.8

1.1

5.8

2.0

3.1

0.5

0.4

2.2

Real estate activities

0.7

0.6

2.9

0.5

1.3

0.2

0.1

0.8

Professional, scientific and technical activities

4.2

4.2

9.0

3.3

7.4

1.4

1.0

4.2

Administrative and support service activities

8.4

22.7

4.5

6.4

5.7

0.6

4.0

11.0

Public administration and defence, compulsory social security

1.5

2.6

4.9

3.5

5.5

1.1

1.3

1.3

Education

2.4

2.1

6.8

5.1

6.8

0.7

1.3

5.1

Human health and social work activities

12.4

8.3

10.8

12.1

14.9

8.6

3.4

11.7

Arts, entertainment and recreation

0.7

0.9

1.0

1.2

2.5

0.7

1.0

1.5

Other service activities

3.8

4.0

2.5

3.1

2.8

5.8

4.0

2.0

Activities of households as employers

0.3

0.2

0.2

1.6

1.6

14.6

11.7

1.2

Activities of extraterritorial organizations and bodies

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.0

0.0

0.1

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2010/11, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

There is a large difference between the sectors of activity where male and female emigrants work (Figure 4.16). Almost 15% of Romanian men across OECD countries work in construction, while another 10% work in the manufacture of vehicles and machinery. Agriculture (crop and animal production) employs approximately 3.5% of Romanian emigrants, and a similar share work in land transport. In contrast, almost 17% of Romanian women work in sectors related to health: more than one in every ten Romanian women work in health, 4% in residential care activities, and 3% in households as domestic personnel. This concentration emphasizes the importance of the health and care sector for the Romanian diaspora in the OECD (see the next section for a thorough discussion of the matter). Confirming previous findings of this chapter on the occupational distribution of Romanian emigrants by gender, retail trade is one of the major employers of Romanian women.

Figure 4.16. Ten sectors with the largest share of Romanian emigrants by gender, 2010/11
Figure 4.16. Ten sectors with the largest share of Romanian emigrants by gender, 2010/11

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2010/11, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Box 4.1. Romanian emigrants in vulnerable employment: The case of Italy

Analysing country-level microdata helps shed in-depth light on the intricate situations of Romanian emigrants in the labour markets of OECD countries. The case of Italy is particularly interesting, as it represents by far the main destination country of Romanians (over one million of them resided in Italy in 2015/16, see Table 1.1 in Chapter 1). Confirming previous findings of this report, the picture that the Italian Labour Force Survey draws is one of substantial underperformance and vulnerability of Romanians in the Italian labour market. Indeed, Romanian emigrants appear to be 40% more likely than the native-born to have a fixed-term job (left panel of Figure 4.17). Around 6% of Romanians are in seasonal employment – a share twice that of natives. At the same time, almost the entirety of the Romanian workforce in fixed-term jobs argue that they would have rather preferred a permanent contract.

Migrants are also more likely than natives to work in part-time jobs. While 17% of Italian workers are in part-time employment, this proportion almost doubles to 28% for Romanian emigrants (right panel of Figure 4.17). Another proxy of the over-representation of migrants in vulnerable employment is the share of workers who worked during night (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) in the past week. Romanians are 27% more likely than natives to work night shifts, with almost 14% of them having recently worked at night.

Figure 4.17. Distribution of workers across employment types by country of birth (left) and share of part-time work and share of workers who worked during night (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) in the past week by country of birth (right), 2015/16
Figure 4.17. Distribution of workers across employment types by country of birth (left) and share of part-time work and share of workers who worked during night (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) in the past week by country of birth (right), 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: Italian Labour Force Survey, 2015/16.

The emigration of health professionals represents a large and long-standing diaspora, especially in certain destination countries

In spite of the over-representation of Romanian emigrants in low-skilled employment, a particularly high number of Romanian doctors and nurses practice in OECD countries. In 2015/16, 39 000 Romanian-born nurses and 22 200 Romanian-born doctors resided in OECD countries (left panel of Figure 4.18). Romania has consistently ranked among the top 25 countries of origin for numbers of foreign-born doctors and nurses working in OECD countries along with India, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and a number of other countries (OECD, 2015[5]). While the absolute numbers of Romanian-born health professionals are high, the emigration rates of these skilled workers are also elevated and rising. In 2015/16, 27% of Romanian-born doctors worked outside of Romania, up from about 20% in 2010/11. The emigration rate for Romanian nurses in 2015/16 was 23%, up from about a fifth in 2010/11. In comparison, neighbouring origin countries have smaller numbers of emigrants working in medical professions in OECD destinations (left panel of Figure 4.18) and their emigration rates for doctors and nurses are lower than those of Romania.

The large numbers of Romanian emigrant health professionals reflect both the attractiveness of working abroad as well as the need for these professions in OECD countries. Some Romanian medical professionals are also trained in the country of destination (OECD, 2015[5]). Most Romanian emigrant doctors resided in Germany (9 000), France (3 800), the United States (2 100), Hungary (1 900), and the United Kingdom (1 800) in 2015/16 (right panel of Figure 4.18). In contrast, Italy was the major host country for Romanian nurses, with over 13 100 of them in 2015/16, closely followed by Germany (12 700).

Figure 4.18. Emigrant health professionals by country of birth (left) and Romanian emigrant health professionals by selected country of destination (right), 2015/16
Figure 4.18. Emigrant health professionals by country of birth (left) and Romanian emigrant health professionals by selected country of destination (right), 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm. Information for France come from the 2015 Recensement de la population.

Reflecting general trends in the overall migrant population (see Chapter 1), Romanian medical professionals in North America have resided there longer than Romanian medical professionals in other destinations. For instance, 96% and 88% of Romanian doctors have resided in the United States and in Canada respectively for over ten years (Figure 4.19). The majority of Romanian health professionals in Hungary have also lived there for over a decade. Nurses from Romania also represent a long-standing diaspora in Italy (67% of them have been in the country for more than ten years), Germany (62%), and France (53%). In contrast, migration of medical professionals from Romania to the United Kingdom is much more recent, with virtually no doctors residing there for more than ten years, and only 15% of nurses.

Figure 4.19. Share of Romanian emigrant health professionals resident in selected OECD countries since over 10 years, 2015/16
Figure 4.19. Share of Romanian emigrant health professionals resident in selected OECD countries since over 10 years, 2015/16

Note: The population refers to the working-age population (15-64).

Source: OECD Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC) 2015/16, www.oecd.org/els/mig/dioc.htm.

Conclusion

The labour market integration of the Romanian diaspora in OECD countries is, on the whole, complex. In spite of having greater employment levels, Romanian emigrants’ unemployment levels are also higher than those of the native-born, and these gaps have widened after the economic crisis. In spite of their greater employment rates, job creation has been particularly sluggish for the high skilled. Moreover, the main occupations held by Romanian emigrants in OECD countries are low skilled, especially for women. Over-qualification rates of Romanians remain high and have increased over time. Romanian emigrants are much less likely than natives to use complex “soft” skills at work, such as influencing and managing skills. In addition, the distribution of Romanian migrants across sectors is skewed towards specific low-skilled sectors of activities, such as construction for men and domestic work for women. Nonetheless, the emigration of Romanian health professionals represents a large and established diaspora in the OECD area.

References

[3] Ambrosini, J. et al. (2015), “The selection of migrants and returnees in Romania”, Economics of Transition, Vol. 23/4, pp. 753-793, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecot.12077.

[4] Ban, C. (2012), “Economic Transnationalism and its Ambiguities: The Case of Romanian Migration to Italy”, International Migration, Vol. 50/6, pp. 129-149, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00556.x.

[1] Dustmann, C., A. Glitz and T. Vogel (2010), “Employment, wages, and the economic cycle: Differences between immigrants and natives”, European Economic Review, Vol. 54/1, pp. 1-17, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/J.EUROECOREV.2009.04.004.

[2] OECD (2018), Skills on the Move: Migrants in the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Skills Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264307353-en.

[5] OECD (2015), International Migration Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/migr_outlook-2015-en.

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