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Ascriptions of employability, competence and career continuance among newly arrived migrants in Sweden
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Psychology.
Stockholms universitet, Psykologiska institutionen.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Perceptions of one’s capability to obtain employment, to change or keep one’s job – i.e. employability perceptions – are important assets in our flexible working life (Berntson, 2008). Present day society is strongly influenced by neoliberalism, in which people are regarded as free and transferable individuals, with the capacity to make their own decisions on all aspects of education, work and career (e.g., Davies et al., 2005; Gazso, 2007). Evaluations of potential employees should be based on qualifications and competences, not attributes such as cultural background, gender and ethnicity. Hence, this entails at least superficially a belief in the equal treatment of all employees, and individual responsibility for successful navigation through the labour market. However, norms, presuppositions and contradictions within neoliberal discourses point towards inequality (c.f. Allen et al., 2013; Calas & Smircich, 2006; Kusterer, 2014), and masculine ideals linked to a white, heterosexual normality pervade (e.g., Holgersson, 2003; Mählck, 2012).

 

The present study aims to explore constructions and reformulations of migrants’ employability, as well as recommendations and prescriptions of how newly arrived migrants should succeed in entering the Swedish labour market. Public documents comprising employability and associated concepts such as competence building and career development are being collected. In order to understand how these concepts are communicated to migrants, we examine information to newly arrived migrants regarding introductory activities and programmes to increase employability. Tentative results demonstrate that although it is assumed that migrants largely lack Swedish language skills, information written in Swedish is often more elaborate than translated versions. The construction of the employable individual builds on tacit assumptions concerning the ability to bring forward required psychological and human capital, in order to appear desirable to potential employers. It seems crucial to be able to measure and verify required competencies and experiences, and perhaps more importantly to work on how you come across to others. Individual employability can thus be constructed as a form of marketing strategy (c.f. Fejes, 2009). Contradictions and shifts between a neoliberal discourse and a social welfare discourse are also noticeable. These shifts could be debilitating for the migrants’ pursuits towards increased employability and career continuance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
employability, gender, intersectionality, migrant, migration, unemployment
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25903OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25903DiVA: diva2:1169144
Conference
International Conference on Immigration and Labour Market Integration – A European Challenge for the 21st Century, Göteborg, 13-15 Nov 2017
Available from: 2017-12-22 Created: 2017-12-22 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf