Refugees’ inclusion at work: a qualitative cross-level analysis

Lena Knappert, Hans van Dijk*, Veerle Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Refugees’ inclusion at work is critical for the individual, for employers and for the receiving societies. Yet, refugees are often disadvantaged in working life or are being excluded from the labor market altogether. The purpose of this paper is to examine barriers and facilitators to refugees’ inclusion at work at the individual, organizational and country level, and pay particular attention to how the three levels relate to each other in shaping inclusion and exclusion of refugees at work. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted 18 interviews with employed refugees, employers and experts from governmental and non-governmental institutions in the Netherlands. Findings: Based on the theoretical structure, 13 themes emerged from the interview material – 5 themes at the individual level, 4 at the organizational level and 4 at the country level. The authors also found indicators for an interplay of barriers and facilitators across levels. Research limitations/implications: This is a small study conducted in the Netherlands, providing several starting points for future research. Practical implications: The authors provide recommendations for refugees, employers and policy makers aimed at addressing barriers and leveraging facilitators of refugees’ inclusion at work. Originality/value: The organizational level, which diversity research has shown to affect minority group members’ inclusion at work, is rarely taken into account in refugee research. Based on the cross-level analysis, the authors identify patterns of interplay between the three levels and provide a relational framework of refugees’ inclusion at work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Discrimination
  • Equal opportunities
  • Migrant workers


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