Absorptive Capacity and Potential of Local Labor Markets

24 Feb 2017


Turkey is now de facto home to roughly 2.7 million Syrians fleeing conflict and collapse in their own country. The rapid influx of Syrians raises complex questions of housing, legal status, and labor, in specific as well as broader challenges of social and economic integration.

Report on “Absorptive Capacity and Potential of Local Labor Markets: The case of Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis and Şanlıurfa” is prepared within the context of Mitigating the Impact of Syrian Crisis on Southeast Anatolia Region Project that is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The project aims to increase the quality of the service provided for the local communities and the Syrian population avoid the possible social tension through building capacity for local and municipal service delivery on waste management and rehabilitation and improving the livelihoods in order to increase the employability of the impacted communities including the Syrians under Temporary Protection.

This report leverages both primary and secondary research, and looks at the ways, in which Syrians in Turkey (hereafter, Syrians under Temporary Protection, or SuTP) currently participate in the country’s labor market. Based on a range of studies, we discuss measures that could help increase SuTP’s integration into local labor markets.

Drawing on detailed analyses of the local economies of five provinces, mostly along the Syrian border, which together have absorbed a significant proportion of SuTP, we explore possible solutions for a more comprehensive integration of SuTP.

Key to this process are building on the existing skills of SuTP and, through a careful understanding of the grounded economic realities of each city in the region, providing incentives to support specific industries and areas for growth, as well as providing tailored training and support for SuTP.

Such measures, if effectively enacted, have the potential to foster job creation, through adding value and boosting efficiency and productivity, and could provide for better economic integration of more Syrians in the region. A key message from this research is that the initiatives discussed in this report have the potential to benefit both the SuTP and host communities.

UNDP has full ownership of the conclusions, recommendations and discussion of policy options contained within this report, which draws on many sources of insight, including data and interviews with experts from public institutions, civil society organizations, private sector and international organizations, as well as economic analysis by McKinsey & Company. The authors are grateful for all these invaluable contributions and collaboration.

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