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Overeducated and over here the experiences of skilled EU migrants on self-initiated foreign work experiences in unskilled UK jobs

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posted on 2012-04-20, 09:10 authored by Bradley Saunders
This study investigates the phenomenon of overeducation among 19 highly-skilled migrant workers from EU countries working in jobs in the UK which are not commensurate with their qualifications and experience. Building on recent qualitative studies of the lived experiences of both self-initiated expatriates and migrant workers, the thesis aims, through in-depth qualitative interviews, to interpret, evaluate and refine our understanding of the experiences of highly skilled migrants in the UK in jobs which do not make use of their qualifications and experience. The study sheds light on the experiences of a growing group of internationally mobile EU citizens, who, rather than undertake the one-off movements typically studied in the migration literature, are able, as a result of the freedom of movement which they enjoy as EU citizens, to undertake more fluid mobility between EU nation states. By so doing it addresses the need for a better understanding of contemporary career mobility within the EU which is vital if the community s ideals of a more mobile, skilled and adaptable workforce, able to increase the community s competitive ability in the face of growing globalisation, are to be realised. Incorporating insights from the literature of migration, expatriation, careers and underemployment, the study seeks to gain an understanding of the migrant workers reasons for coming; the barriers they face in their search for employment which is commensurate with their qualifications and experience; their adjustment to their new work, cultural and social environments; and the effect that their stay here has on their sense of identity. The study suggests that the migrants inability to find work commensurate with their skills and experience could have adverse effects on their mental health and may detract from their ability to integrate fully into wider UK society. By restricting its focus to individuals in jobs which are not commensurate with their qualifications and experience, the study helps to add to the relatively small body of knowledge on individuals in skill- and status- underemployment undergoing voluntary (i.e. unforced) downward transitions. The reality of the interviewees situation was very often at odds with their preconceptions. The study has examined the way in which they faced up to the multiple demands of their new environment. It is hoped that it will encourage further research to address these issues and by so doing benefit future generations of EU migrant workers.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Bradley Saunders

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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