WOW PhD candidate Negar Faaliyat has just published her first paper relating to her PhD project: ‘The Probability of Unemployment for Middle Eastern and North African Skilled Migrants in Australia’.

Negar was first author on her paper entitled: ‘Employment incongruity and gender among Middle Eastern and North African skilled migrants in Australia’ in Labour & Industry: A journal of the social and economic relations of work.

Negar and her supervisors/co-authors Dr Susan Ressia and Emeritus Professor David Peetz investigate ‘employment incongruity’ among skilled migrants from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries – that is, whether the jobs they achieve in Australia match the jobs they expect to be doing after they arrive or not – along with the factors that shape outcomes and the gendered dimensions of these outcomes.

The authors analyse data collected from qualitative interviews with 15 females and eight male skilled MENA migrants, a median of seven years after arrival and apply an intersectionality lens to consider influences at the macro, meso and micro level and the underlying power dynamics that affect female MENA migrants in terms of shaping their employment outcomes.

They identified what appears to shape employment incongruity comprise the following:

  1. Organisational practices regarding recognition of overseas qualifications and demands for ‘local experience’;
  2. Norms supporting discriminatory behaviour;
  3. The difficulties skilled MENA migrants have with accessing networks; and
  4. Intra-family cultural norms.

These findings are significant for current and future skilled MENA migrants, with the employment outcomes of most of the participants in this study revealing a mismatch between government immigration policies and organisational practices.

‘The paper’s findings are not only limited to the experiences of those 23 skilled migrants participating in the project – it reflects the experiences of many other non-English speaking skilled migrants in Australia’, says Negar.

‘As a Middle Eastern skilled migrant, I’ve experienced and witnessed difficulties that skilled migrants – especially those from non-English speaking backgrounds – face in Australia. This is the main reason that I decided to investigate this topic’.

Negar discusses the learning curve she experienced to achieve her first publication and offers advice to other PhD candidates hoping to publish.

‘I think one of the main challenges in publishing papers stems from poor communication between author(s) and journal reviewers – especially for PhD students with limited experience in academic writing.  As a researcher, you know every aspect of your project very well. However, when it comes to writing, you need to be clear about all those aspects in your paper and help the reader to have a clear picture of your research’.

Negar is now working on phase two of her project with the support of her supervisors. They plan to present a paper at the Gender, Work & Organization Conference later this year. This paper will examine the labour market outcomes of skilled migrants in Australia using ABS data.