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The Revolving Glass Door Immigrant women’s experiences finding managerial employment in Halifax Presented by: Catherine MacKeigan Dalhousie University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Revolving Glass Door Immigrant women’s experiences finding managerial employment in Halifax Presented by: Catherine MacKeigan Dalhousie University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Revolving Glass Door Immigrant women’s experiences finding managerial employment in Halifax Presented by: Catherine MacKeigan Dalhousie University 16 th International Metropolis Conference September 14, 2011 MacKeigan1

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3 Nova Scotia population: almost Halifax population: over % of Halifax population is foreign born ( Stats Can, 2011) “Halifax anything but diverse” (Greater Halifax Partnership, 2005) MacKeigan3

4 Study Metropolis Pilot Study, ongoing Goals: – To explore employment experience of immigrant women in management and professions within Halifax – To consider social and organizational culture influences – To identify social integration and policy implications – To compare findings with similar Quebec City study MacKeigan4

5 Study Participants: – Women as recent immigrants and newcomers (having citizenship) to Halifax – Identified through community organization – Holding or seeking professional and management employment Currently primarily student & public sector based 6 Semi-structured interviews 1 Focus group (to date), 6 participants MacKeigan5

6 Expectations Many women had high expectations for self & family Would “Just fit in” A welcoming community and integration (Canadians as ‘peacekeepers’) Canada as rich, world of plenty – Education would teach participants how to achieve this Lots of employment opportunities MacKeigan6

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8 Experiences are NOT unique Organizational culture Heritage & history of the region “Revolving glass door” MacKeigan8

9 Halifax as a homogenous environment Experiences mediated by mode of entry MacKeigan9

10 Halifax as a homogenous environment MacKeigan10

11 This homogenous culture is in both the workplace & community MacKeigan11

12 Homogenous Culture Communication barriers – Accents – Slang – Body language Racism – Visible minorities – Names – Discreet “Best fit for the job” best fit is often familiarity someone mirroring the employer MacKeigan12

13 Not a matter of “just fitting in” Cultural Competencies “Canadian Experience” Education Lack of Community Racism Systemic Problem MacKeigan13

14 Organizational Culture Recognition that problem is not with themselves – 1. Unintentional discrimination – 2. Visible minority and/or accent seen as a negative not positive quality Perception by participants that employers are ‘not ready’ to employ – Managerial attitudes in interviewing – General discomfort – General ‘unpreparedness’ – support systems, career counselling MacKeigan14

15 Experiences mediated by mode of entry MacKeigan15

16 Participant A From UK Married, entered as dependent Husband had work with university Fluent in English Highly qualified in labour force & masters degree MacKeigan16

17 Participant B From China Married, entered as a dependent Did not speak English MacKeigan17

18 Participant C From Africa Single Entered through student nominee program Fluent in English, but with accent MacKeigan18

19 Relation to Labour Force Participant A - Used husband’s support network of University Participant B - Started small entrepreneurial import business with husband Participant C - Remained in school, upgrading education MacKeigan19

20 What’s this mean? Highly skilled and motivated migrant women are being trapped in the “revolving glass door.” They can see the office desk and but cannot get past the door. Instead labour skills are being used elsewhere (family entrepreneurship) or lost to other areas (using Halifax as a stepping stone to learn English) MacKeigan20

21 Next Steps Additional interviews Focus group To add: – Private sector representatives – Organizational representatives (YW/MCA, MISA, NS Policy officials) Comparison to Quebec City research MacKeigan21

22 Thank you Presented by: Catherine MacKeigan Dalhousie University MacKeigan22


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