Career experience of Asian ethnicity permanent residents and citizens in Australia
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The literature has shown that most immigrants report a negative career experience in their newly adopted English-speaking countries. In particular, they complained of loss in income and status, especially for those migrating from non-English speaking countries. The Social Psychology literature has demonstrated that ethnic identity can influence an immigrant’s perception of the fairness of organisational recruitment and job acceptance intention. However, little is known of the impact of immigrants’ ethnic identity and how this affects their career experience. This is the subject of the current paper which draws on the literature on ethnic identity and social cognition career theory to examine the career experience of 196 ‘visible racial minority’ individuals in Australia. These individuals were immigrants from Asia (first generation Asian Australians) and Asian-born Australians (second generation Asian Australians) in Australia. Data were collected from face-to-face and online surveys. Data analyses were conducted using Partial Least Squares modeling, a form of Structural Equation Modelling, to test the hypothesized relationships.The findings showed that visible racial minority individuals reported that their level of self esteem is positively influenced by the pride in their ethnic background. Individuals who possessed more self esteem tended to report fewer experiences of being discriminated against in the workplace. Individuals who were proud of their ethnic background tended to report having experienced more culturally-related career barriers in the workplace. Individuals who were actively engaged in their ethnic communities were more likely to accept job offers which were below their capabilities and qualifications. However, those who reported higher levels of self esteem were more confident in not accepting inferior job offers. Our findings provide support for the need to consider ethnic identity when developing career counseling strategies for Asian immigrants. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.
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