International

Feeling of being ‘second-class citizens’: East Germans and migrant descendants are under-represented in top positions – politics

Even 30 years after unification, East Germans are nationally under-represented in management positions. However, this does not apply to all domains of the economy, society and government. The proportion of people born in the territory of the former GDR in elite political positions roughly corresponds to their share of the population of 19.4 percent. However, across all sectors, according to the most recent research results, they only occupy 10.1 percent of management positions. While East German executives in security, civil society and trade unions are still achieving double digit values, few East Germans in particular set the tone in science and governance.

The share of people with a migration background in top positions is even lower. These are the first results of the research “Participation without participation? How East Germans and people with a migrant background are represented in the West German elite, ”was presented on Monday by the German Center for Integration and Migration Research, which also involved the Leipzig political scientist Lars Vogel.

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According to this, the proportion of people with a migration history in the population is 26 percent. However, in management positions, there are only 9.2 percent of people whose at least one parent was not a German citizen at birth. They are most strongly represented in culture (19.6 percent) and religion (25.9 percent).

In contrast, there are very few people with foreign roots in the judiciary (1.3 percent), trade unions (3 percent) and the military (2 percent). Apart from salaried employment, German citizenship is also required to join the Bundeswehr.

According to the research, the proportion of people with a migration background in the business elite is 13.8 percent. Social scientist Sabrina Zajak reported that those who stood up here were mainly Western Europeans and native English speakers. Education obviously plays an important role here, but it is also evident that people with a migration history are disadvantaged, even if they have the same qualifications. In addition to discrimination, the lack of networks and clergy also plays a role.

But more often you feel like “second class” citizens

The researchers looked at more than 3000 elite positions for their study. In a representative survey, they also found that only less than a third of the population supports a legal quota to increase the proportion of East Germans and people with a migrant background. However, more than 60 percent of those surveyed could come up with measures to promote suitable workers from both groups.

The scientists agreed that more research was needed into the causes of the underrepresentation. In justice and science, the “social origins” are much more evident than in other areas, said Raj Kollmorgen of the University of Zittau / Görlitz. Here you may need to take a closer look at the recruiting mechanisms.

The researchers found that East Germans who recognize that those born in the East are underrepresented in the elite are no more dissatisfied with democracy than others. But more often they felt like “second-class citizens.” According to the research, there is no such link between people with a migrant background. Perhaps this has to do with the different expectations in both groups. (dpa)

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