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Bridging the refugee employment gap

30 May 2018
How can Australian employers overcome the 'canvas ceiling'?
Associate Professor Betina Szkudlarek's research shows employers are eager to work with refugees, but many don't know where to begin. Not-for-profits and social enterprises can help bridge the gap.

Research Highlights with Associate Professor Betina Szkudlarek

Refugees are often forced to flee their home countries with no time to prepare for relocation, let alone to think about an employment strategy.

Research by Dr Betina Szkudlarek, Associate Professor in Management, along with her team, Dr Luciara Nardon, Eun Su Lee and Duc Cuong Nguyen, investigates refugee labour integration. Their work identifies that refugees face what they call a "canvas ceiling" of systemic barriers when looking for employment. While many businesses are enthusiastic about employing refugees, many aren't sure how to go about it.

Infographic detailing over 30 not-for-profits that bridge refugees and employers

 

In Australia, there are a number of organisations such as Settlement Services International, AMES Australia and Refugee Talent that bridge the gap between refugees and businesses. They offer services that assist businesses throughout all stages of recruitment, from finding and screening candidates to training and mentoring.

Employers can reach out to one of these organisations for help with refugee employment, as they offer tailor-made solutions for recruitment and raising awareness. This is an opportunity for businesses to be part of the solution to the refugee crisis while meeting their own business needs.

Published work

Lee E Su, Szkudlarek B, Nguyen DC and Nardon L 2018 'Elephant in the room: IHRM and refugee workforce integration', Australia and New Zealand International Business Academy (ANZIBA) Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 2nd February 2018

Nardon L, Zhang H, Szkudlarek B and Gulanowski D 2018 Forthcoming 'Supporting refugee workforce integration: the paradox of managing expectations and supporting professional identities', European Academy of Management (EURAM) Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 22nd June 2018

Nardon L, Zhang H, Szkudlarek B and Gulanowski D 2018 'Employment support and refugee workforce integration', 11th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), Ottawa, Canada, 25th May 2018

Podcast

Listen to an interview about the research with Dr Betina Szkudlarek to learn more.

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