Differences in Skill Requirements Between Jobs Held by Immigrant and Native Women Across Five European Destinations

Alícia Adserà, Ana M. Ferrer, Virginia Hernanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine whether the requirements of analytical skills and physical strength in jobs held by immigrant women in five major European destinations (France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) converge to those of jobs of native-born women in their first ten years in the destination country. To this aim, we combine data from the European Labour Force Survey (2005–2015) of immigrant women arriving in these five countries and information about skill requirements from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). At arrival, migrants in Spain and France use much less analytical skills, but for the period before the Great Recession, that gap closes relatively fast over time compared to other destinations, particularly in the low end of the skill distribution. Physical strength requirements of immigrant’s jobs increase over time and the gaps open in countries where immigrants depart from relatively more strength-intense jobs, while they close in Spain where immigrants use less strength than natives at arrival. Our estimates are also robust to selection into employment both at the average and across the skill distribution using recent techniques. Since the Labour Force Survey does not have information on wages, we use wage information from the European Union Structure of Earnings Survey to proxy average immigrant-native wage gaps implied by our estimated skill gaps by country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Analytical skills
  • European immigrant women
  • Physical strength requirement
  • Quintile distribution
  • Selection into employment
  • Skill gaps


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