3 reasons Syrian Refugees will Struggle in Workplace

First off, these refugees come from one of (if not THE) worst place on Earth. The strange thing is that European leaders expect these deeply traumatized individuals to enter the workforce as if nothing happened to them in the first place. I will now present 3 reasons why Syrian refugees might struggle in the workforce.

1. Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) makes work Difficult
This anxiety disorder develops very quickly if a person experiences something very traumatic, and is naturally worsened by extent of exposure. Living in a warzone exponentially increase the risk of developing PTSD. Symptoms are difficulty concentrating, hypersensitivity, flashbacks, depression and a host of other related symptoms. Anything even remotely reminiscent of the underlying trauma, like someone slamming a door shut, can bring flash-backs to the individual. To illustrate the psychological ravages of war-related PTSD, more American soldiers have died by suicide than in actual battle. Bear in mind, an American war veteran has a substantially bigger support-network than a Syrian refugee has.

2. European work life is incredibly complicated
Bear in mind, even many native Europeans are unemployed. The reason being that European society requires allot of expertize, both when it comes to education and experience. Work life in Europe has become incredibly specialized and formalized. This means that many refugees need extensive training in order to enter the workforce, since the education they got in Syria is not competitive in Europe. Granted, it is possible to institute something similar to affirmative action programs, however that can very quickly lead to self-defeating social tensions. Some argue that we should discriminate between refugees regarding their employability, though it is easy to see how that goes against core principles in the Human Rights system.

3. Global economic slow-down
The timing is simply a worst-case scenario. The entire world economy is slowing down, stock markets are dropping, and digitization/automation will put many jobs under pressure. When unemployment rises, managers become increasingly selective, even laying-off people with bachelor degrees. We also know that political radicalism grows rapidly in such economically tumultuous times, and there is no reason to think that will not happen this time as well. Indeed, various southern-European countries are currently under their rule.

Therefore, these are 3 things that can problematize the situation for Syrian refugees. We need to take these issues seriously, because dreaming alone cannot circumvent them.


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