Myth: Refugees don’t make for good employees.
Fact: Reports show a company’s decision to hire refugees “makes sound economic sense” and yields great results.
The Tent Partnership for Refugees recently published the first report studying refugee employment. In it, Tent shows that hiring refugees is more than just a moral, humanitarian-minded decision; hiring refugees actually makes economic sense for several reasons. First, refugees who are finally able to be resettled have often spent years in camps or under-served urban areas without the ability or right to work. Once they arrive in a new country, they are eager to begin working which means they will be more flexible with their shifts and more enthusiastic than other employees. U.S. employers can also find solace as refugees go through the most extreme vetting and security checks. Additionally, refugees speak a foreign language which is a highly desired and useful skill for any company with global operations.
As many Western countries experience aging populations, refugee influxes provide a valuable source of human capital for labor shortages. For example, in the United States, 77% of refugees are of working age. Some estimates claim that by 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be older than 65, and that the American workforce will be insufficient to replace these workers. Furthermore, the Tent report claimed that many businesses hiring refugees claimed that employee turnover rates were much lower among refugee employees – thus, saving businesses a lot of money.
NaTakallam aims to change the narrative around the refugee population, often seen as a burden rather than an asset. Being a refugee is not an exclusive identity – many of NaTakallam’s conversation partners and translators are former teachers, engineers, artists, and more. Many studies have shown that a lack of employment opportunities is the single greatest barrier to integration. For World Refugee Day, NaTakallam hopes that employers around the world will recognize the value of hiring refugees not just more moral reasons, but for economic ones as well.