28.02.22 | Statistics
The employment rate for immigrants and their descendants generally tends to be lower than for the rest of the population.

Definition: here, an immigrant is defined as a person who is foreign-born and whose parents are both foreign-born as well. Descendants are defined as native-born but with two foreign-born parents.

Employment rates

The employment rate for immigrants is lower than that of the rest of the population. Employment for descendants is slightly higher than that of the immigrants, with an even greater difference in Sweden. However, both the employment rate for immigrants and descendants are significantly lower than that of the rest of the population.


Employment and length of stay

In Finland and Sweden, immigrants who have stayed for longer are more likely to be employed. In Denmark and Norway, the employment rate is highest for those who have stayed for around 8-15 years, but the employment rate for people who have only stayed 0-3 years is also relatively high. The rate is lower in Finland and Sweden, except for those who have stayed longer than 15 years. 


Young people neither in employment nor education

The share of young immigrants who are neither employed or in education is much higher than what is the case for the native-born youth. Young people with foreign-born parents (descendants) tend to be somewhere in-between.​

Denmark does not publish data on the NEET-rate of immigrants due to concerns of uncertainty of the data. 


Employment and gender

In the above charts, we have seen that the employment rate for descendants was slightly higher than the one for immigrants. This chart shows that, that difference is mainly driven by higher employment among female descendants: While the employment rate for male descendants remain roughly the same or slightly lower compared to that of the male immigrants, female descendants are more likely to be in employment than their mothers. ​

In Sweden, however, both male and female descendants have a higher employment rate than the immigrants. The employment rate among male and female descendants is almost identical in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, meaning that the gender gap among descendants is actually smaller than when looking at the rest of the population.