How refugees experience the australian workplace: A comparative mixed methods study
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© 2021 The Authors. Published by MDPI Publishing.
There is a growing body of evidence indicating poorer working conditions for migrant workers, particularly refugees, compared with native-born workers. Our objectives were to compare exposure to workplace psychosocial stressors in working refugees with other migrant groups and Australian-born workers of Caucasian ancestry and to describe the working experience of refugees. Cross-sectional surveys collected information on the workplace stressors of job complexity, control, security, bullying, and racial discrimination from six migrant groups (n = 1062) and Caucasian Australians (n = 1051); semi-structured face-to-face interviews were used with currently employed refugees (n = 30). Content analysis examined the qualitative data. Compared to all other groups, working refugees were more likely to report experiencing racial discrimination in the workplace and to report exposure to more than three hazards. Content analysis indicated that working refugees are working below their capacity, in terms of hours and qualifications, and in jobs that were low status and lacked security. Despite challenging work conditions, participants reported adequate health and safety training and feeling a sense of pride in their work. These findings highlight the need for better support for refugees in negotiating the workplace once they find employment and the importance of employers providing an inclusive and equitable workplace.
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