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New Misum Academic Insight on the underemployment of highly skilled migrants

In this new Misum Academic Insight, affiliated researcher Laurence Romani and her co-author pose the question: why do organizations underemploy highly skilled migrants?

This Misum Academic insight is based on the research article “Underemploying highly skilled migrants: An organizational logic protecting corporate ‘normality'” published in the Human Relations Journal in 2022.

Despite Europe’s shortage of labor market skills, organizations are underemploying highly skilled migrants. Within Sweden, the underemployment rate for highly skilled migrants is four times that of native Swedes with a similar experience level. Multiple rationalizations have been proposed for this situation, from macro-level situational barriers to micro-level explanations focused on the individual.

Current research on organizational factors affecting migrants’ employability is in its infancy. Most of the literature on the topic holds the assumption that organizations are willing to hire migrants, and if underemployment is occurring that this is due to individual characteristics. This study challenges this assumption by considering the possibility that organizations may lack an incentive to recruit migrants or that they may even have reasons for underemploying them. The focus is shifted from the current micro-level emphasis on the individual to a mezzo-level, posing the question: why do organizations underemploy highly skilled migrants?

Read the Misum Academic Insight here

Research article authors:

  • Laurence Romani, Misum Affiliated Researcher with the Sustainable Business Development Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform, and Professor at the Department of Management and Organization.
  • Annette Risberg, Professor of Organization and Management at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.