Immigrant employment trajectories in France, 1968–2008: A sociohistorical approach

By Pierre Blavier, Anton Perdoncin, Beatrice van Hoorn Alkema

In public debate, immigrants are often considered a homogeneous and undifferentiated group. Informed by historical and sociodemographic research, this article aims to contribute to a better understanding of the diversity of immigrant trajectories in France. To do so, it studies the employment trajectories of individuals arriving in France from 1968 onwards and bases its analysis on the Trajectories and Origins (TeO) survey conducted by INED and INSEE in 2008, in particular its retrospective timeline. The optimal matching method, coupled with the modelling of transition probabilities between various states of employment, enables us to construct and qualify, using a sociological approach, various types of trajectories, as well as to explain the key transitions within the population between education and unemployment, employment and unemployment, and non-working homemaker and salaried employment. The employment trajectories analysed in this way are determined by gender, any professional experience prior to migration, country of origin, and age at migration. In historical terms, the 1970s saw a reconfiguration of the entry requirements into a working environment that was more unstable and more likely to feature time outside salaried employment.

  • sociology of immigration
  • history of immigration
  • labour market
  • optimal matching
  • modelling
  • employment trajectories
  • France
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