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Niche employment or occupational segmentation? Immigrant women working in the settlement sector in Germany and Canada

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 16:25 authored by Sita Jayaraman, Harald BauderHarald Bauder
Much of the research on the settlement sector focuses on the impact of settlement programs on the integration of immigrants. The settlement sector as a field of employment for immigrant women is still an emerging field for research. This working paper examines the experiences of immigrant women working in the settlement sector and compares Germany with Canada in this respect. The central thesis is that immigrant women working in this sector experience occupational segmentation based on their gender, race, and immigration status. Our research findings support this thesis, suggesting that the settlement sector is a deeply segmented labour market where, on the one hand, language and cultural competencies facilitate the employment of racialized immigrant women, while on the other hand, the positions these women occupy are characterized by precarious working conditions with limited opportunities for professional growth. These similar labour market outcomes occur in Germany and Canada, despite the rather different structures of the settlement sector in the two countries. Keywords: immigrant women, labour market experiences, settlement services, occupational segmentation