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New Eurostars? The labour market incorporation of East European professionals in London.

Csedo, Krisztina (2009) New Eurostars? The labour market incorporation of East European professionals in London. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Professional and graduate mobility represents an increasing component of international migration streams due to the globalisation of markets, the expansion of the knowledge economy, and the global competition for talent. While in the last twenty years considerable attention was given to East-West mobility flows within Europe, little research has been done on mobile professionals' and graduates' occupational attainment abroad. In the thesis I analyse the social organisation of professional mobility, focusing on the determinants of mobility, the destination choice, and the job-seeking practices of East European professionals and graduates in London. Several bodies of literature deliver the conceptual basis for this research. Applying an economic sociological framework, I rely on three major currents among the theoretical approaches to migration and mobility: human capital, global cities and labour market segmentation theories. I use quantitative and qualitative techniques to analyse primary and secondary data, including an online survey and semi-structured interviews with Hungarian and Romanian professionals and graduates working in London, and London-based employers of East European graduates, as well as official statistics. While aiming to question the atomised economic individualism associated with well-educated migrants and to draw the profile of the potentially new 'Eurostars', the thesis reaches four main conclusions. First, I emphasise the need to investigate the social process leading to labour market incorporation of foreign professionals from a transnational perspective. I argue that the social structures and institutions at both destination and origin influence immigrants' labour market positions at destination. Second, I have found that mobility decisions are shaped by individual perceptions of relative deprivation when comparing their own social and occupational positions to the ones of members of groups they consider referential. Third, social ties act as centrifugal forces in sending professionals and graduates to either the top or the bottom of the occupational hierarchies at destination. Typically, however, professional and graduate mobility is a market-dependent phenomenon, influenced less by the existence of social ties, more by the supply and demand on the global labour, education and migration policy markets. These social institutions, together with social networks and migrants' self-selection contribute to the creation of labour market segments at destination. Finally, the thesis challenges the idea that the international transfer of human capital is a seamless process. Instead, I argue that it is the social aspects of human capital creation, transfer and appreciation which shape to a great extent what is socially recognised as being 'skilled' or 'highly qualified'. Being 'highly skilled' is an outcome of negotiations between employers and migrants on the socially constituted labour markets around the value and the value-attached significance of employable human capital.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations, Economics, Labor
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Sociology

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