Diversity Management as leader to a successful integration of refugees into the German labor market

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2019

18 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of content

1. Introduction

2. Diversity Management
2.1 Definition
2.2 Objectives

3. Current refugee crisis
3.1. Definition of the term migrant
3.2 Definition of the term refugee
3.3 Refugee crisis
3.4. Refugee policies
3.5 Access to labor market

4. Integration of refugees
4.1 Measures
4.2 Measures with Diversity Management
4.3 Benefits

5. Conclusion

6. References


During the last decades, Germany has become a country of diversity. This is not only justified by an increasing number of immigrants, but also because of the current refugee crisis. In most cases, the refugee crisis is stated as something negative, but it is possible to turn this negative thinking into a positive one. With the help of a successful Diversity Management, all these incoming refugees are able to be integrated into the German labor market. They can set the basis for new workforces in German companies and prevent shortages, since a lack of qualified workers due to the demographic change will arise in the close future.

1. Introduction

Diversity is a term that appears in every societal context. Whether one distinct this term between age, gender, experiences, interest or culture, it still implies that every of these mentioned characteristics is part of the society. Every individual is different and therefore Germany is a country of diversity.

The current refugee crisis also contributes its part to the diversity of Germany. It has gained a lot of attention all over the world through media in the past years. Mostly, the crisis is set into a negative context. The media speaks of a wave of refugees that is compared to a natural catastrophe and opened up political and societal discussion about this topic. Of course, people flew and left their home countries, but besides all these negative aspects that spread fear and fright, there are some benefits. Benefits arising due to the current refugee crisis that bring positive potential and solutions for the German labour market and its companies. In general, this potentials and solutions are the incoming refugees itself, that could be a possibility to reduce the decreasing number of skilled workers in the German labour market. This kind of integration is by far not easy and requires among other things the right strategic approach.

Since this has to be mastered and the right approach needs to be adapted successfully, the resulting research question is: How does Diversity Management lead to a successful integration of refugees into the German labour market?

In order to answer this question, this research paper first gives an overview of the term ‘Diversity Management’ with its definition and objectives. Furthermore, the current refugee crisis will be analysed in short, by giving an introduction of the term ‘refugee’ itself and an overview of the facts and figures of the current crisis as well as the legal requirements for entering the German labour market. The last and biggest part will deal with the integration of refugees into the labour market. By doing so, special attention is payed to the measures of the Diversity Management and the arising benefits that come along with that. All in all, a conclusion will summarize the main findings of the paper and give a short outlook towards the future of Diversity Management in Germany.

2. Diversity Management

In order to give this paper a clearly defined structure, the scope of diversity management needs to be illustrated. For that, a clear definition of this term as well as its objectives are explained in the following.

2.1 Definition

When it comes to a definition of the term ‘Diversity Management’, the term ‘Diversity’ needs to be examined first as well. The relevant literature does not deliver a generally accepted definition of that, but several approaches on that have been developed.1

In general, it can be said that the term ‘diversity’ is a synonymous for ‘variety’. Hereby, it refers to the variety of individuals in connection with their individuality, which is characterised by different attributes like religion, language, knowledge, sex and sexual orientation or their age.2 These characteristics build up the so-called dimensions of diversity.3 Together with the term Diversity Management, the term describes differences as well as similarities that focus on members of specific reference groups in an organisation. By paying special attention to the business context, it represents a company’s workforce diversity.4

Demographic differences of employees like these have always existed in the past. The crucial point in this context is nevertheless the raising awareness of staff diversity and how organisations utilise these different potentials of employees effectively.5 The demographic change can be seen as one main reason for that. Population is shrinking and getting older than ever before, since the mortality rate is higher than the birth rate. A lack of qualified employees is only a small result of that, because there are not enough young people to replace the skilled workers.6

2.2 Objectives

The overall objective of a successful Diversity Management is the focus on all employees of a business with their similarities as well as their differences. It should improve the corporate culture for all involved people and create kind of surrounding in which social discrimination is prevented and equal opportunities are established. Potential diversity problems should be reduced by realising diverse employee’s potential appropriately.7

Generally, these overall objectives can be divided into three main objectives. First, the discrimination and fairness approach in which each individual employee gets the same treatment and opportunities towards the others. Secondly, the access and legitimacy approach which serves as a basis for economic considerations and lastly the integrative approach. This approach somehow combines the first two approaches, whereas the economic mind-set and the treatment of an equal integration of all employees is included.8

3. Current refugee crisis

The following section should give a basic overview of the refugee-related aspects that are important for the ongoing paper. The definition of the term ‘refugee’ is hereby clearly separated from the term ‘migrant’ since this oftentimes lead to misunderstandings. Additionally, an overview of the current refugee crisis, especially with the impact on Germany and its policies should intend to clarify the understanding as well as the legal framework towards entering the German labour market.

3.1. Definition of the term migrant

First of all, it can be said that every refugee is a migrant as well. The term migration refers in general to a change of the home country by crossing international borders.9 These crossings mostly happens because of work issues or the fact that people from one country want to visit their family members in another country or even totally move to this country. Therefore, a refugee is so to say subordinated by this kind of people. The crucial difference in this definition is the fact, that migration is a voluntary movement from one country to another.10 The further definition of the term ‘refugee’ will clearly state the difference of this voluntary movement.

3.2 Definition of the term refugee

As already stated the above, the following definition will clearly demonstrate the difference of being a refugee. The international law clearly differentiates this term. Therefore, refugees are people that leave their state because of political decisions or the fear of persecution, arising by a heterogeneity of race or political beliefs. Moreover, and to get more precise, the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951 describes a refugee as a person “born of events that occurred before January 1st, 1951, and because of the well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality or belonging to one certain social group or because of their political convictions, they are outside the country of which they are nationals and cannot claim the protection of the country or because of this fear they do not wish to avail themselves.11

3.3 Refugee crisis

“By the end of 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. That was an increase of 300,000 people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population remained at a record high.”12

With this citation of the Un Refugee Agency (UNHCR) the enormous extent of the crisis becomes visible. Millions of people left their homeland and came to Europe. This is one of the highest numbers that have ever been listed. It can be said that on average every two seconds a human being in this world is forced to flee. Therefore, Europe experienced the highest number of arriving refugees since the second world war.13 Most of the refugees are coming from countries like Syria, Afghanistan or South Sudan, since the dangerous situations in their countries of origin force them to escape. Especially Syria, with its Assad regime and Lybia with its continuing civil war make people leave their home. They are selling all their property to collect money for their travel into a hopefully better life.14

Most of the neighboring countries do not have any more capacity to host all the refugees. They only take a restricted amount of people since they are totally overstrained with the arrivals. In addition, the neighboring countries are not able to offer a legal way to the local job market. Even if children would like to go to school, they rather need to take their time to support their family members. Furthermore, the so called ‘German suction effect’ make the travel to Germany more ‘attractive’. With this, refugees from Syria will not be deported into other European countries. Since this was widely spread around the social media, people from other states like North Africa started their way towards Germany as well.15

As a result of all that, Germany was on the sixth place in the year 2016 with around 970.400 refugees. In the current year, 722.370 applications in Germany were requested, which is more than in all European states together. Still, all these arrivals represent only a minimum portion of all the people that flew and are still fleeing worldwide.16

3.4. Refugee policies

The so called 1951 Refugee Convention which came into operation in 1954 was signed by 143 countries. It is a convention defining the responsibilities a refugee has to fulfil on the one hand and the judicial protection or social rights he is entitled to on the other hand.17 In the beginning of its establishment it was used to protect refugees after the second world war but after the crisis reached a global dimension, it was expanded to protect refugees from all over the globe. In 2013, the agreement was updated and renamed to ‘Dublin III Regulation’, with the difference that now asylum seekers could be led back to their arriving country if it’s necessary to prove their previous stay. In Europe, a common refugee policy does not exist. The above mentioned ‘Dublin III Regulation’ only stresses the states including external borders in the European Union.18

To make it more concrete towards the German context, it can be said that Germany is now the biggest European immigration country.19 Quite an immense change, because until 1990 the federal republic of Germany was not an immigration country. First with the demographic transformation later, due to a lack of skilled workers, a first approach of an immigration act was established. With this, foreign students or employees were able to get a residence permit.20 In 2016, most of the refugees stayed for a longer time in Germany because they got a residence status. Reasons for that was the recognition of legitimate reasons for their flight. Nevertheless, many asylum applications are rejected.21

3.5 Access to labor market

Whether a refugee is allowed to work in Germany or not depends on his current residence status. There are three different status. First one is the residence license. It comprises a time period of one to three years and allows the refugee, depending on the type of protection, to extend the license into a permanent one. Asylum seekers with a residence permit are still in the asylum procedure. This means the asylum application is neither accepted nor rejected and the refugee is allowed to work under certain conditions. Finally, persons with tolerance have certain access to the labour market, but a so called ‘permit for employment’ must be obtained first and renewed over a period of four years.22

4. Integration of refugees

The following and last part deals with the integration of refugees into the German labour market. For this, general measures how they are adapted in Germany are named, as well as internal and external measures with Diversity Management.

4.1 Measures

The Federal Office for Migration and refugee’s states, that integration can be seen as a long-term process that is aiming at including everyone in society who lives in Germany on a permanent and legal basis. Every refugee should have the opportunity to take part in social, political and economic life on an equal footing, striving to become a part of the German society. Legal basis for all these activities is the Immigration Act which has been in force since 2005.23

In order to integrate, there are different measures that can be applied. One first measure to support the integration are language courses. The above-mentioned Immigration act firstly introduces integration courses for refugees and immigrants. These courses mainly aiming at an understanding of the basic German language skills. They are compulsory for all asylum seekers which asylum application has been approved. The courses each take a different amount of teaching units, starting with 400 teaching units up to 900. Content of the teaching material of these courses are not only important topics refugees face in their everyday life like education, free time, social contacts, health/hygiene or habitation, but also how to successfully write job applications or standard e-mails. On top and in addition to that, orientation courses with a length of 30 to 100 units should deliver a general understanding of topics like the German legal system, rights and responsibilities, history or culture. In each case, the participants need to pass a short test about the skilled topics afterwards.24


1 Comp. Erdönmez (2004) p. 37

2 Comp. Loden, M., Rosener, J. (1991) p. 18

3 Comp. Süß (2008) p. 409

4 Comp. Krell (2008) p. 64

5 Comp. Finke (2006) p. 40

6 Comp. Hockling (2011) n.p

7 Comp. Pullen (2018) n.p

8 Comp. Mager, P. (2019) n.p

9 Comp. Statistisches Bundesamt (2014) p. 5

10 Comp. Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung (2017) p. 1

11 Comp. UNHCR (2015) p. 6

12 Comp. UNHCR (2017) p. 2

13 Comp. UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe (2018) n.p

14 Comp. Kastenhofer M. (2015) n.p

15 Comp. Kastenhofer M. (2015) n.p

16 Comp. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (2018) n.p

17 Comp. UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe (2018) n.p

18 Comp. Hailbronner (2017) p. 50f

19 Comp. Hailbronner (2017) p. 1

20 Comp. Hailbronner (2017) p. 55ff

21 Comp. Hailbronner (2017) p. 4

22 Comp. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (2018) n.p

23 Comp. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (2007) p. 5

24 Comp. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (2017) n.p

Excerpt out of 18 pages


Diversity Management as leader to a successful integration of refugees into the German labor market
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
diversity, diversity management, integration of refugees, integration, refugees, German labor market, refugees German labor market, refugee integration, culture, culture and diversity, refugee crisis, successful integration of refugees, labor market
Quote paper
Cara Gröntgen (Author), 2019, Diversity Management as leader to a successful integration of refugees into the German labor market, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/583778


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