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Integrating Refugee Migrants into the Labour Market: the Necessity of Digital Skills for the Job Seeking Process


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Presentation at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES 2018) in Sevilla in the panel “New lives in new worlds – refugees from the MENA region in their new environments. Interdisciplinary panels for refugee research“.

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Integrating Refugee Migrants into the Labour Market: the Necessity of Digital Skills for the Job Seeking Process

  1. 1. Integrating Refugee Migrants into the Labor Market: The Necessity of Digital Skills for the Job Seeking Process Violeta Trkulja & Juliane Stiller Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany July 18, 2018 WOCMES, Sevilla „Reales Alcázares de Sevilla“ by victorianorivero (CC BY 2.0)
  2. 2. Agenda ○ Introduction ○ Digital Skills: Concepts & Definitions ○ Methods for Measuring Digital Skills ○ Results ○ Future Work & Discussion 2
  3. 3. Information Science ○ Interdisciplinary field related to library and computer science, social sciences and humanities ○ Focuses on different aspects of information ○ Interplay of people, information systems and knowledge organizations ○ Specifically interested in: digitized cultural heritage, digital information behavior, research data management, digital and information literacy 3
  4. 4. Forced Migration Studies ○ Information as one perspective in the field of forced migration studies ○ Perspective is often overlooked ○ Use of information systems by special group of people ○ How can information practices of refugees be steered to support the integration process? ○ How can refugees’ information needs be better supported? 4
  5. 5. Labor Market Integration ○ Employment is one of the key criteria for feeling integrated (UNHCR Research, 2013) ○ Job-seeking activities increasingly move online ○ Integration activities in Germany for refugees are not designed for job orientation ○ Untapped potential of refugees‘ qualifications ○ Digital skills are necessary to be able to enter the labor market 5
  6. 6. To Find a Job, One Needs ... ○ Information about ○ ways to find employment in the host country, ○ work practices in host country specific to certain domain, ○ the right to work under different residence permits, ○ local labor market traditions and pratices such as ○ application processes, ○ common interview questions, ○ codes and rules of the working place. 6 To find, manage, assess and critically apply information to life situations, one needs digital skills
  7. 7. Digital Skills Concepts & Definitions
  8. 8. Definitions ○ Digital skills, digital literacy, information literacy, digital competences … ○ According to Iordache u. a. (2017) we define: ○ Digital Knowledge: knowledge about digital tools ○ Digital Skills: ability to apply this knowledge ○ Digital Competence: use these sets of knowledge and skills for one’s personal development 8
  9. 9. Analyzing Digital Skills ○ Understand deficits in finding, processing and analyzing information on the Internet ○ Design targeted courses that contribute to the development of digital skills ○ Benefit from the opportunities that arise through the Internet ○ Improve chances for labor market integration ○ Contribute an important aspect of forced migration research 9
  10. 10. Digital Literacy Frameworks ○ Iordache et al. (2017) examined the commonalities and differences of 13 Digital Literacy Frameworks ○ 5 groups of competencies: ○ Operational, technical, and formal ○ Information and cognition ○ Digital communication ○ Digital content creation ○ Strategic 10
  11. 11. Internet Skill Scale (v. Deursen, 2010; v. Dijk & v. Deursen, 2014; v. Deursen u.a., 2015) strategic Developing an orientation toward a particular goal, taking the correct actions to reach this goal, making the right decisions to reach this goal 11 Defining the information problem, choosing a search system to seek information, defining search options or queries, selecting & evaluating information sources information operational Recognizing and operating the Internet service’s toolbars, buttons, and menus, managing different file formats opened or saved from Internet services formal Navigating the Internet by using hyperlinks embedded in different formats such as texts, images, menus, emails, or applications
  12. 12. Methods 12
  13. 13. Pre-Study ○ Lab-study with 7 participants in August 2017 (Stiller & Trkulja, 2018) ○ Survey on internet activities ○ 9 tasks for digital skill assessment ○ Purposeful sample of participants ○ Formal requirements (as envisioned by the German government) to enter German workforce ○ Between age of 18-33 from Syria and Iraq ○ 6 male and 1 female participants ○ Level of German language skills = B1 and higher ○ Status of residency with long-term perspective ○ High educational level (academics, students) 13
  14. 14. 9 Tasks to Determine Digital Skills operational 1. Download and save a file formal 2. Use specified site search and remove filter 3. find address of jobcenter with specified website strategic 8. Find three jobs with highest salary during training and career 9. Match perks for employees to three given companies information 4. Find information on a specified website 5. Determine standard size of an application photo 6. Determine the minimum wage per hour 7. Determine minimum vacation days
  15. 15. Setting and Conditions ○ Tasks conducted in a usability lab ○ Tasks were timed ○ Ordered from easy to hard ○ Screen recordings for all tasks ○ All online resources could be used to fulfill tasks (except use of mobile phones) 15
  16. 16. Results 16
  17. 17. Pre-Study - Results ○ All participants used laptops and mobile phones to access the Internet in their daily lives ○ Participants had a high level of Internet affinity ○ Use of internet for entertainment, social networking, shopping and research ○ For all these activities the participants rated their own skills as good or very good 17
  18. 18. Results of the Online Tasks (mean) 18 4 4 5.25 0 3 3 1.75 7 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% operational formal information strategic successful completion unsuccessful task
  19. 19. Limits of Study ○ Countdown timer was stressing participants ○ Participants were under pressure to “perform well” ○ Chose real-world scenarios in job seeking but they were artificial to the way refugee migrants normally find work (via personal networks) ○ Concept of choosing work you like or that matches your talents 19
  20. 20. Results ○ In screencasts, we observed: ○ Only basic search strategies ○ No advanced search functionalities ○ Often unsuccessful information seeking processes ○ Lack of website orientation (understanding of structure of website?) ○ Successful fact-based information seeking ○ Strategic searches were rather unsuccessful ○ No information source evaluation ○ Perceived skills were higher than measured skills 20
  21. 21. Discussion & Future Work 21
  22. 22. Further Studies ○ Currently conduct an lab-based experiment 20+ participants (OCLC/ALISE Research Grant 2018) ○ Extend study with interviews and surveys ○ Explore digital skills, barriers to information access, information needs and abilities of refugees in the work process 22 Long-term: Establish a training program for the acquisition of digital skills for refugees
  23. 23. 3 Take-Aways 1. Information is an integral part of successful integration but skills for handling, processing and applying information are not universal 2. “Cultural information space” and digital literacy are connected 3. Teaching concepts and trainings are missing that convey digital skills and the cultural information space 23
  24. 24. References Deursen, A. J. A. M. van. (2010). Internet skills : vital assets in an information society. Iordache, C., Mariën, I., & Baelden, D. (2017). Developing Digital Skills and Competences: A Quick-Scan Analysis of 13 Digital Literacy Models. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 9 (1), 6-30, doi:10.14658/pupj-ijse-2017-1-2 OECD (2016), "Skills for a Digital World: 2016 Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy Background Report", OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 250, OECD Publishing, Paris. van Deursen, A. J. A. M., & van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2009). Improving digital skills for the use of online public information and services. Government Information Quarterly, 26(2), 333–340. Stiller, J. & Trkulja, V. (2018). Assessing Digital Skills of Refugee Migrants during Job Orientation in Germany. Transforming Digital Worlds. iConference 2018, ed. by Chowdhury G., McLeod J., Gillet V., Willett P. , vol. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 527-536, Springer. UNHCR (2013). A New Beginning: Refugee Integration in Europe. Retrieved from van Deursen, A. J. A. M., & van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2014). Digital Skills - Unlocking the Information Society. Palgrave Macmillan US. Abgerufen von van Deursen, A. J. A. M., Helsper, E. J., & Eynon, R. (2015). Development and validation of the Internet Skills Scale (ISS). Information, Communication & Society, 19(6), 804–823. Weitzel, T., Eckhardt, A., Laumer, S., Maier, C., von Stetten, A., Weinert, C., & Wirth, J. (2015). Recruiting Trends 2015 - Eine empirische Untersuchung mit den Top-1.000-Unternehmen aus Deutschland sowie den Top-300-Unternehmen aus den Branchen Finanzdienstleistung, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. Retrieved from https://www.uni- Wiedner, J., Salikutluk, Z.., & Giesecke, J. (2017). Arbeitsmarktintegration von Geflüchteten: Potenziale, Perspektiven und Herausforderungen. State-of-Research-Papier 7, Verbundprojekt “Flucht: Forschung und Transfer”, Osnabrück: Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien (IMIS) der Universität Osnabrück / Bonn: Internationals Konversionszentrum Bonn (BICC), März 2018. Retrieved from Arbeitsmarktintegration-von-Gefl%C3%BCchteten.pdf 24
  25. 25. 25Questions Contact Dr. Juliane Stiller stillinsky Dr. Violeta Trkulja viokeka