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Psychological and intersectional perspectives on employability among foreign born residents 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 with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Perceptions of one’s capability to obtain employment, to change or keep one’s job are growing more important as our working life is becoming ever more flexible (Berntson, 2008). Present day society is strongly influenced by neoliberalism, in which people are regarded as free and transferable individuals, capable of making their own decisions on all aspects of education, work and career (e.g., Davies et al., 2005; Gazso, 2007). Superficially, this entails a belief in equal treatment of all employees. Evaluations should be based on qualifications and competences, not attributes such as cultural background, gender and ethnicity. However, norms, presuppositions and contradictions within neoliberal discourses point towards inequality (c.f. Allen et al., 2013; Calas & Smircich, 2006; Kusterer, 2014). Sweden is considered one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of gender equality; nevertheless, society and its organisations are pervaded by masculine ideals related to a white, heterosexual normality (e.g., Holgersson, 2003; Mählck, 2012). There are large differences between Swedish-born and foreign born residents in the labour market, for example regarding unemployment rates and participation in the labour force, and these differences are often gendered (SCB 2014, 2016).

 

The present project aims to investigate how aspects associated with employability – directly or indirectly – can highlight possiblities and difficulties for migrants in their establishment in the Swedish labour market. Psychological and intersectional perspectives are used to explore how employability is constructed for and perceived by foreign born women and men residing in Sweden. This entails a focus on the subjective and individual experiences, as well as on how public and official discourses and practices are exhibited and used by public authorities, recruitment firms and media. We start by collecting public documents on employability and associated concepts such as competence building and career development. We give special attention to information on programmes for newly arrived migrants and other temporary measures to resist long-term unemployment. In a second step, interviews are conducted with individuals who have taken part in such programmes, and with employees from organisations involved in training and recruitment, as well as government officials concerned with these issues. At the conference, we will present preliminary results on the construction of employability within one programme for newly arrived migrants, and compare this with the view of employability displayed in interviews with unemployed Swedish-born residents who have taken part in a programme to resist long-term unemployment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
employability, gender, intersectionality, migrant, migration, unemployment
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25906OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25906DiVA, id: diva2:1169153
Conference
International Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Resource Management, Göteborg, 23-25 March 2017
Available from: 2017-12-22 Created: 2017-12-22 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Kusterer, Hanna Li

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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Language
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