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How has COVID-19 affected Turkey’s labor market? Evaluation Note/ Şenay Akyıldız  
Haber resmi
02/09/2020 - Viewed 3395 times




In May 2020, a survey study involving 3,033 participants was conducted across 12 provinces in Turkey (Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kilis, Konya, Mardin, Mersin ve Şanlıurfa) in order to reveal how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the labor market. Of those surveyed, 57 percent were Turkish citizens and the remainder were Syrians under Temporary Protection. The proportion of women represented in the survey was 6 percent.

The main findings from the survey are as follows:

  • COVID-19 has affected female workers the most. While 32 percent of all participants stated no changes occurred to their professions and they continued working full-or part-time as in pre-pandemic conditions, this rate stood at merely 7.4 percent for women.
  • COVID-19 has affected Syrian employees more than Turkish citizens. The rate of Syrians who have been dismissed or taken on unpaid leave because of the pandemic is 36.5 percent, while the same rate is 11.9 per cent for Turkish citizens.
  • Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, 88 percent of Syrians have suffered a loss of income. The same rate was 50 percent for Turkish citizens.
  • Syrians were less likely to benefit from the COVID-19 support packages compared to Turkish citizens. The rate of Turkish citizens who benefit from pandemic support is 13 percent, compared to 5.5 percent for Syrians. Syrians have mainly benefited from food parcel support. It was determined that Turkish citizens mainly benefit from the social assistance money given by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services at 1,000 TL per household.
  • Among the survey participants, those living in the southeastern provinces (especially Hatay, Urfa and Mardin) were more affected by the pandemic than others. The rate of no changes occurring in professions is 32 percent for the entire 12 provinces, whereas in Hatay and Urfa, this rate is 3.2 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively. In Mardin, another 22 percent who were already unemployed were added to the 17 percent who were laid off because of the pandemic, and the unemployment problem in the city further deepened.
  • The rate of layoffs (11.1 percent) in the construction sector, where mainly Syrians work, is higher than in other sectors that were surveyed.

As the data indicates, COVID-19 has caused significant changes to professions. Data from the survey revealed that the pandemic had a heavily negative impact on the working population in the nearly two-month period following the announcement of the first official case in Turkey on March 11, 2020. About 70 percent of those in the labor market suffered from a change in their profession and as a result, experienced a loss of income.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals lost their income, jobs, hope for finding a job, and could not benefit from the supports, leading to a formation of a population consisting mostly of Syrians. The first refugee group arrived in Turkey 9 years ago, and since 2011, many studies and projects have been conducted on the issues of Syrians' adapting to the labor market, the feedback from the COVID-19 survey depicts that the integration process has not function as effectively as desired.


You may read evaluation note from here.

This evaluation note was published in Turkish on 19.06.2020


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