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The Employable Migrant

Many highly educated migrants are today working below their qualification. This phenomenon, called ‘underemployment’ is often said to be a problem of ‘fit’ of the migrant to local conditions, and thus, the responsibility of migrants. This overlooks however the role played by organizations, because, eventually, it is always the organization that sees a person as ‘a fit’ or not.

Background and research questions:

Underemployment of migrants is currently understood as a responsibility for the migrants to present a profile attractive to organizations. Yet, organizations are the one defining what is an attractive profile, and what are the skills and competences required. Rather than a fit, employability is a construction in the form of a process that takes place between the person searching for employment, and those who are in a position to decide on their employment.

The project therefore asks the following questions:

  • How is the employability of migrants constructed in organizations, for example, during a recruitment process?
  • What role do organizations such as Employment office, NGOS supporting integration of migrants play in shaping an employable migrant, with an ‘attractive CV’? 
  • To whose advantage is this construction of employability done?

Research approach:

These questions are studied with an in-depth qualitative approach, combining interviews and participant observations of recruitment processes as well as participations in programs developed by NGOs to support migrants’ employability.

Further information:

The project is funded by FORTE (the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) during 2020-2023. Visit this research project’s webpage at the Center for Responsible leadership for preliminary insights on the project.