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Underemploying Highly Skilled Migrants

Research
Society and economy

Why do highly skilled migrants encounter difficulties getting a skilled job? At this lunch webinar Professor Annette Risberg from Copenhagen Business School will present a recently published article which instead of searching for an answer in migrants’ characteristics, turn to organizations and ask: why do organizations underemploy highly skilled migrants? Welcome to an Organizing Integration lunch time webinar at the Gothenburg Research Institute and the Department of Business Administration at GU!

Webinar
Date
13 Apr 2021
Time
12:00 - 13:00
Location
Zoom

Participants
Annette Risberg. Professor at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark
Vedran Omanović, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg University
Good to know
This webinar is in English.
Organizer
Gothenburg Research Institute at School of Business, Economics and Law and the Department of Business Administration at GU

Annette Risberg and Laurence Romani recently published their article, entitled: Underemploying Highly Skilled Migrants: An Organizational Logic Protecting Corporate 'Normality', in Human Relations (2021) https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726721992854

In this article they explore the case of an organization that is working to shape the employability of highly skilled migrants. One of the starting points in this study is that organizational practices shaping everyday normality at work influence how migrants are narratively constructed as a potential threat to this normality. More specifically, this study shows that it is not merely the individual characteristics of migrants that shape their employability, but it is also the organizational practices of the employing organization. By studying how the employability of migrants is perceived in a mentorship programme and through its participants narratives, this study contributes to an increased understanding of highly skilled migrants’ underemployment.

Abstract:

"Why do highly skilled migrants encounter difficulties getting a skilled job? In this study, instead of searching for an answer in migrants’ characteristics, we turn to organizations and ask: why do organizations underemploy highly skilled migrants? With an in-depth qualitative study of a programme for highly skilled migrants’ labor integration in Sweden, we show that highly skilled migrants are perceived as a potential threat to organizational norms and practices. Using the relational theory of risk – approaching risk as socially constructed – the study provides a novel explanation for highly skilled migrants’ underemployment.

...we show that highly skilled migrants are perceived as a potential threat to organizational norms and practices.

It shows an organization logic protecting corporate practices seen as ‘normal’ from a perceived disruption that employing highly skilled migrants could possibly cause. Theoretical contributions to the understanding of highly skilled migrants’ employability are threefold: (1) the field assumption that organizations are in favor of hiring migrants is challenged; (2) highly skilled migrants’ underemployment is explained through a protective organizational logic; and (3) we stress the necessity to problematize an implicit reference to organizational normality when recruiting."

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Annette Risberg
Annette Risberg, CBS. Foto: CBS<br /> Photo: CBS
Photo: CBS