Strategies to get refugees into work quickly

All News, Faculty, Inside CBS   -  14. September 2018

CBS students examined the question of how more companies can be brought together with qualified refugees in a joint business project with the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Prof Dr Brigitta Herrmann carried out the project in the Intercultural Management course.

A topic of high social relevance

The large number of refugees and their integration has been, and will continue to be, one of the key issues of the last years. Companies, universities and future graduates also have a high degree of responsibility for management positions here.

CBS students should also be made aware of this challenge in a business project: The students developed new strategies to bring more refugees into employment together with Prof Dr Brigitta Herrmann and the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Status Quo: Much potential hampered by a lot of bureaucracy

Before the concept was developed, the various groups conducted interviews with employers such as DHL, Lanxess, WDR or the City of Cologne in order to gain an overview of possible problems, but also of the chances of employing refugees.

The main challenges were the lack of German language skills and cultural differences. However, the different standards in education or missing documents complicate the integration into the labour market. “You are generally confronted with too much bureaucracy,” summarises Guido Fussel, HR manager at the brewery Früh Kölsch.

On the other hand, many companies see great potential in the mostly young refugees. If the integration is successful, cultural differences can have indeed a positive effect on the company. When asked why companies should hire refugees, social responsibility came first.

Bringing applicants and companies together

Bringing refugees together with the right job or company is a strategy that is based on direct contact. Both sides can get to know each other directly via tandem partnerships, cultural exchange events or job fairs. Companies should use specifically social media channels like Facebook and WhatsApp for organising contact points. The advantages of this procedure are that questions can be discussed directly and inhibitions such as writing texts in a foreign language can be avoided.

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