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Work and Organisational Studies

Employer evaluations of immigrant IT and accounting professionals: A case of skill underutilisation

Shamika Almeida, Work and Organisational Studies, PhD Candidate

6th May 2010  12:30 pm -

Discussant: Dr Ian Roper, Middlesex University

Existing literature suggests that the skills of accredited, permanent immigrants in Australia remain underutilised in the labour market. This is attributed to four key reasons: the lack of recognition of overseas based qualifications, employer reluctance to hire immigrants who do not yet have host country work experience, the lower levels of immigrant English language skills, and the exclusionary social attitudes and fears about immigrants that result in discrimination and prejudices within the hiring process. Most of this research has been survey based and conducted from either an immigrant capability or policy focus. Although employers play a central role in the social incorporation of immigrant labour, little is known of employer's evaluations of immigrant skills. In light of this gap in the scholarship, this paper aims to make a contribution through a regionally specific case study of employers, to examine how occupationally specific candidate criteria influences the employer's evaluation at the pre-entry phase. The paper finds some, but not complete, resonance with existing literature and but also finds that employers are more inclined to favourably evaluate immigrant computing professionals than accounting professionals.