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The Experiences of Migrant Job Seekers, Looking for Work Online

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Denise de Pauw
Publication date2022
Number of pages293
Awarding Institution
Award date25/01/2022
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Employment is acknowledged as an important mechanism for migrant integration, yet finding work can be difficult, even for highly skilled professionals. Substantial research exists on employment, recruitment, migrant workers, inclusion, and work-related language and literacy skills, yet little of this is directly concerned with job- seeking literacy practices, and specifically, online job applications. This study contributes to the literature on employment support for migrants by focusing on online mediated job applications, and would be relevant to those supporting any jobseekers, not only migrants.
Using an ethnographic approach, three case studies were conducted, concerning migrant jobseekers in England from different age groups, linguistic and educational backgrounds. Video recordings, job-seeking texts and field notes were collected, and semi-scripted interviews were conducted. The data was analysed using mediated discourse analysis, drawing on literacy practices and activity theory.
This study identifies how digital mediation structures online recruitment by privileging the literacy practices associated with globally networked sophisticated digital information managers. It contributes job search literacies as an addition to other employability literacies, such as self-promotion (e.g. Bhatia, 1993) and reading the market (Del Percio, 2018), necessary for online jobseekers. It theorises online job- seeking as a recursive self-appraisal cycle, which begins with searching, and during which career identity is continually adjusted in relation to perceptions of the job criteria and motivation, as the application progresses. Accurate self-appraisal and formulating a credible career identity require the development of employability literacies underpinned by specialised advice, from the relevant field of employment, and the study concludes that this is where employability support should be focused. This support is vital for highly educated and low educated migrants alike, looking for paid and unpaid work.