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The construction of the employable migrant

Many highly educated migrants are today working below their qualification in their host country. This is often said to be a problem of ‘fit’ of the migrant to local conditions, but this approach overlooks the role played by organizations, because, eventually, it is always the organization that sees a person as ‘a fit’ or not.

Underemployment of migrating persons 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?

How can organisations develop inclusive recruitment processes? 

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. In partnership with organizations, the researchers follow recruitment processes to capture how the construction of employability is created through the various stages of the process.

Project leader: Laurence Romani

Project team and partners in collaboration: Laurence Romani and Paolo Velásquez, Stockholm School of Ecomomics, Sofia Nordmark and Viktor Vesterberg (both at Linköping University), Charlotte Holgersson (KTH). Corporate collaborators: Mitt Liv, Axfood, Vattenfall

Status: This project is partly funded by FORTE (the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) during 2020-2024.