Overcoming Labor Market Disenfranchisement: Entrepreneurship, Women, and Migrant Workers

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Ross, Peter K
Ressia, Susan
Sander, Elizabeth J
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With the benefit of technological advancement, people, and business have been able to take advantage of emerging opportunities in local, national, and global markets, through a variety of entrepreneurial activity (Ross & Blumenstein, 2015). Earlier chapters outlined how the changing face of work and its environment has delivered opportunities for alternate work styles and practices. The advent of coworking centers (Chapter 3), for example, has provided opportunities for small start-ups, individual entrepreneurs, and unaffiliated professionals (Spinuzzi, 2012) by allowing access to business space and providing users with opportunities to form networks that can enhance the growth and development of new business ventures. Chapter 4 outlined how Cloud computing technologies have opened up potential global business opportunities for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and start-up firms. These changes create potential entrepreneurial and self-employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups by allowing them greater access to nontraditional forms of employment in labor markets. This is particularly important to women and migrant groups who often experience less access to traditional employment opportunities as a result of social, cultural, and structural barriers (such as the work/family dichotomy), segmented labor markets, and/or discriminatory practices in the hiring of skilled migrant professionals (Azmat, 2014; Heilbrunn, Abu-Asbeh, & Nasra, 2014; Ressia, Strachan, & Bailey, in press; Weichselbaumer, 2016). The opportunity to use alternate work practices, such as coworking centers, for example, may provide alternative work areas and networking opportunities for those who may not be in a position to access and/or rent traditional office or other work space (Pio & Dana, 2014; Wynarczyk & Graham, 2013). Cloud-based connectivity technologies have also supported the rise in the number of home-based businesses (HBBs), which has increased the entrepreneurial activity of women (Wynarczyk & Graham, 2013). These groups, however, still face challenges in terms of access and support in utilizing new technologies to increase their economic activities. Failure to address this disadvantage will accentuate the digital divide. This chapter examines the developing literature in the area of entrepreneurship and self-employment, with a particular focus on migrants and female entrepreneurs, to better understand the growth of such work practices. It also considers the implications and advantages that these alternatives to the traditional labor market may have for female and ethnic migrant workers, and discusses the potential of new technologies to enhance growth in economic activity for these groups. This analysis suggests that further research is required to better understand the real benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) for migrants and women workers in relation to developing their entrepreneurial activities. This would not only be of benefit for the individuals concerned, but also the wider economy.

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Work in the 21st Century: How Do I Log on?
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Human resources management
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Ross, PK; Ressia, S; Sander, EJ, Overcoming Labor Market Disenfranchisement: Entrepreneurship, Women, and Migrant Workers, Work in the 21st Century: How Do I Log on?, 2017, pp. 69-84