How difficult is it to find a new job?

Career paths after development service

When their development service contract comes to an end, professionals ask themselves what their next career move should be. Some development workers return to their former occupation, while others seek a new orientation. Many want to make use of all that they have learned and experienced during development service in their new work.

The returnees who took part in the survey described their situation in one of the following ways:

Duration of job search in months

Some professionals had been seconded to undertake development service and were able to return to their old jobs. Some went into retirement. Others chose to become self-employed. And some took up a new job straight away – with a new EhfG contract or a post in a development organisation, for example.

A large majority of the professionals – more than 70 percent – looked for a new job after completing development service. Most started looking for a job when they were still in their host country, but many began looking within the first six months of returning. About one in ten did not start looking until more than six months after their return.

More than 80 percent succeeded in finding a new job within one year, although older returnees took a little longer on average.

Countries where professionals sought jobs

If it took them more than six months to find a job, the professionals cited "needing time to find my way around the labour market" and "potential employers being dubious about my CV” as the most significant reasons for this. Other factors cited by professionals included an unfavourable labour market, their long absence abroad, and their age when they returned.

Following development service, professionals take up work in a wide variety of occupations. Forty-six percent remain in the field of development cooperation or development policy, and about half of them go to work abroad again. The others work in a wide range of sectors – many of them in education, health care, or social work.

In-depth interviews about the study

As part of the AGdD study 2022 "Before and after development service: A quantitative study among returnees (2011-2020) in-depth interviews were conducted with some study participants. They talked about their experiences, motivations for a development service and its influence until today - e.g. in the form of social engagement after their return.

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