The role of digital competences in advancing the employability of immigrant women in the European Union


The objective of this study is to understand the contribution of digital competences to advance the employability of immigrant women in five European Union countries: Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Hungary, and Romania (as a source country). Based on a survey to three-hundred and fifty-one immigrant women, one hundred local women (as a control group), and interviews with the staff of social organizations, the research explores the role of digital competences by looking at four deeply interrelated paths that we argue lead to an improvement in employability: 1) Autonomy; 2) Social capital; 3) Training and Lifelong Learning; and 4) Cultural inclusion. Emerging findings suggest that promoting digital competences among immigrant women in the European Union in not only an important factor to advance their human capital but also a catalyst that can help advance important elements of the four paths leading to employability. In addition, the research highlights the role of social organizations in promoting social, economic, and cultural integration of immigrant women and in advancing many of the ‘key competences’ identified by the European Union as critical to succeed in today’s labor market. Theoretically, the research uses Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach and the employability in the knowledge economy framework throroughly advanced by researchers and policy-makers in the recent decade. Although there is a plethora of research around the role of digital competences in advancing employability of disadvantaged groups, little is known about the way in which these competences can advance the economic integration of immigrant women into the EU labor market and how their skills level and patterns of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) use promote can potentially promote social and cultural integration. This is a work in progress and in this paper we present some of the most compelling findings that are emerging in the first stage of analysis.

Quick Facts


Publication Type

  • Conference Paper

Publication Date

  • 2009