Refugee Integration

The Adecco Group’s contribution to the labour market integration of refugees

We are currently experiencing one of the worst refugee crises. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of people displaced globally by conflict has reached a staggering high of 60 Million. These asylum seekers had to leave their lives behind – and start anew.

Did you know…

In 21 of the 28 EU member states, an asylum seeker has to wait six months or longer before being allowed to work?

On EU average, it takes between five and six years to integrate more than 50% of humanitarian migrants into the labour market and as much as 15 years to reach a 70% employment rate.

Among those refugees in Europe who can get a job, the average employment ratio was 56% in 2014. Refugees have a high risk of being unemployed, and if they are working, they usually work below their level of qualification.

These long waiting times translate into delayed integration into society, and delayed stability. But action is being taken. The Adecco Group white paper ‘The Labour Market Integration of Refugees’, shares best practices from 18 employers successfully involved in the integration of refugees in Europe. Learn more about the 10 recommendations for employers and 5 recommendations for Governments.

21 million

international refugees

3.2 million

asylum seekers


of all refugees come from 4 countries

Facilitating the match between employers and refugees

In Germany, a subsidiary of the Adecco Group, DIS AG, has installed an easy-access electronic recruitment system and a hotline for refugees searching a job.

Adecco Foundation in Italy has been placing refugees since 2008. Based on this experience and detailed analysis not only can Adecco Foundation Italy identify the most relevant sectors for refugee employment. It also has a network of well acquainted companies in those sectors which increases the matching quality of postings. It now supports a resettlement programme for 1.000 mostly Syrians that is coordinated by Catholic, Protestant, Methodist and Waldensian church associations and is called Mediterranean Hope.

La Fondation Groupe Adecco in France has provided two local NGOs that are involved in job market integration with an access to their job market analysis software ‘Adecco Analytics’.

Creating valuable networks

The Adecco Group provides a linkage on three levels:

The placement level between refugees, potential employers and supporters like volunteers and NGOs;

Through the relationship between the individual actors like refugees and employers and the support and decision infrastructure of local agencies, administration, language institutions etc.;

On policy level by making recommendations, giving feedback, and by initiating pilot projects.

Making refugees’ skills transparent for potential employers

In Germany the project ‘InCharge’, initiated by the German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs brings together refugees and mentors that support them in becoming part of the workforce.

DIS AG in Germany publishes job offers and looks for potential employers via refugee specific online platforms and job events in cooperation with local NGOs. DIS AG then passes the acquired data through an electronic assessment, conducts pre-screenings via telephone and face-to-face interviews.

Adecco Foundation in Italy has become a competent partner of local NGOs and businesses in assessing skills of more than 363 refugees since 2008.

The Adecco Group’s 5 recommendations for successful labour market

1. Time is crucial.

Countries should:

Reduce the time necessary for the application procedure

Allow early access to the labour market and education

Fast track solutions for refugees with high probability of international protection

2. Skill transparency means resource efficiency.

Countries should:

Ensure targeted, large scale and systematic procedures for skills assessment and qualification recognition are in place

Agree on and work with internationally harmonized certification systems for non-formal skills qualifications

Include skills assessment and/or qualification recognition early on – i.e. already during application

Promote information linkage and transparency on skills via e.g. online platforms

3. Refugee dispersion and support needs to be labour-factored.

Countries should:

Ensure dispersion of refugees is based on employment factors like e.g. individual profiles, local labour market conditions and specific local shortage occupations

Offer status security during vocational trainings and employment independent of asylum procedure and encourage combining language courses with work experience

Avoid penalization of job related ‘secondary migration’ of refugees after initial dispersion

Offer bridging courses to develop country specific skills on the base of prior qualifications in home country

4. Potential external support should be well targeted.

Countries should:

Offer targeted, systematic and individual needs assessment and quality guidance to develop an individual integration plan

Ensure diversification of language courses by e.g. education level and professional sphere

Provide comprehensive professional, cultural and civic orientation

Establish and promote mentoring structures

Focus on special needs of growing diverse groups like e.g. unaccompanied minors or psychologically traumatized refugees.

5. Integration is networking.

Countries should:

Provide one-stop shops for employers for the concrete employment procedures

Create regional integration hubs linking employers, potential employees, support structures, administration and information on host as well as home countries

Promote coordination and training of volunteer support in labour market integration

Download Europe's Refugee Crisis Overview

Further Reading


A new home at work: an employer's guide book to fostering inclusion for refugee employees by Deloitte and Tent Foundation

Refugee inclusion in the workplace: a guide for employers by the European Network Against Racism ENAR

Refugee Inclusion Toolkit by IKEA Switzerland

Stronger Together Toolkit by Welcoming America

University Engagement Toolkit by the US department of State

Inspiration toolkit by EUROCITIES

Toolkit for language support for adult refugees by Council of Europe in 7 languages

U.S. Employers' Guide To Hiring Refugees by Tent Foundation and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

How to Get Refugees into Work Quickly by Tent Foundation and Opennetwork