There have been stark differences observed in the way skilled migrants and Australian-born workers view their jobs. Job security and skills utilisation has its much impact felt on the job satisfaction levels of the migrant workforce, than their local counterparts.
Many at times, the skilled workforce who migrate to Australia dreaming of a career wherein their skills will be utilised effectively, end up doing jobs that are way far different than what they expected.
Taking this dissatisfaction issue a bit further, researchers from the Curtin University used a nationally representative sample of Australian workers to examine how job security and skill utilisation influenced job satisfaction for both skilled migrants and locally born workers.
While previous research suggested skilled migrants were often less satisfied with their jobs when compared to Australian born workers, little was known about why these differences existed.
‘For skilled migrants, we found there was a significant positive relationship between job security and job satisfaction for high levels of skill utilisation, whereas there was no significant association between job security and job satisfaction for low levels of skill utilisation,’ said Dr Amy Tian from Curtin’s School of Management.
While skills utilization did not impact relationship between job satisfaction and job security for Australian-born workers. Tian believes, “Skill discounting, whereby migrants are forced to accept jobs beneath their skill level, is largely to be blamed for poor job satisfaction levels.”
See: Demand for Knowledge Workers and Highly-Skilled Professionals Increase in Australia
“Given the increasing concerns about skill shortages globally, skilled migrants could be employed in jobs that are commensurate with their skills, qualifications and experience gained in their countries of origin, yet the contrary is the case,” Dr Tian added.
“Skilled migrants are often confronted with the attitude that they should accept whatever opportunities they are offered and therefore find themselves performing work that is not equal with the skills and abilities they possess.
“Therefore, when skilled migrants perceive high skill utilisation and high job security, they may be particularly appreciative of their employer and would feel particularly satisfied with their job.”
The study highlighted the need to take a more fine-tuned rather than ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to human resource management strategies and policies for skilled migrants.
The study further highlights, the critical role of HR practices in shaping and promoting migrants’ positive evaluation of their jobs and values they bring to their workplaces, and in turn, their wellbeing at work.
Also read: Youth Unemployment Continues to Remain High in Australia
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