Uncovering Complexity in the Job Search Experiences of Skilled Immigrants in Australia: An Intersectional Approach
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This paper explores the job seeking experiences of skilled immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds who arrived in Australia between 2004 and 2008. Semi-structured interviews collected the stories of 22 migrants after their arrival and 12 months later. The research utilized intersectionality theory to analyse the multiple complexities associated with this life-changing event (Crenshaw 1989; McCall 2005; Weber 2010). The majority of participants did not find professional work post-migration. The participants’ new migrant status, including the unfamiliar job search processes, initially complicates employment seeking. Additional complexities associated with gender and family roles are revealed as migrating families prioritize the job search for one spouse, especially where young families are involved. Male participants were most likely to seek employment ahead of women as a way of handling competing financial and childcare constraints. Job seeking thus becomes a gendered process as responsibilities become divided around work and care roles. While both genders suffer downward occupational mobility (Ho 2006; Ho & Alcorso 2004), men initially find any type of job to get by and plan to seek professional work. Women, however, tend to gravitate towards insecure forms of work, and are more likely to permanently change occupations.
International Conference on Intersectionality