Refugees are often forced to flee their home countries with no time to prepare for relocation, let alone to think about an employment strategy.
Research by Dr Betina Szkudlarek, Associate Professor in Management, along with her team, Dr Luciara Nardon, Eun Su Lee and Duc Cuong Nguyen, investigates refugee labour integration. Their work identifies that refugees face what they call a "canvas ceiling" of systemic barriers when looking for employment. While many businesses are enthusiastic about employing refugees, many aren't sure how to go about it.
In Australia, there are a number of organisations such as Settlement Services International, AMES Australia and Refugee Talent that bridge the gap between refugees and businesses. They offer services that assist businesses throughout all stages of recruitment, from finding and screening candidates to training and mentoring.
Employers can reach out to one of these organisations for help with refugee employment, as they offer tailor-made solutions for recruitment and raising awareness. This is an opportunity for businesses to be part of the solution to the refugee crisis while meeting their own business needs.
Research Highlights with Associate Professor Betina Szkudlarek
Overcoming the canvas ceiling: promoting refugee employment
Lee ES, Szkudlarek B, Nguyen DC, and Nardon L 2020 'Unveiling canvas ceiling: A multidisciplinary literature review and research agenda of refugee employment and workforce integration', International Journal of Management Reviews, 22(2), 193-216
Lee ES, Szkudlarek B, Nguyen DC and Nardon L 2018 'Elephant in the room: IHRM and refugee workforce integration', Australia and New Zealand International Business Academy (ANZIBA) Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 2nd February 2018
Nardon L, Zhang H, Szkudlarek B, and Gulanowski D 2020 'Identity work in refugee workforce integration: The role of newcomer support organizations.' Human Relations. In-press
Nardon L, Zhang H, Szkudlarek B and Gulanowski D 2018 Forthcoming 'Supporting refugee workforce integration: the paradox of managing expectations and supporting professional identities', European Academy of Management (EURAM) Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 22nd June 2018
Nardon L, Zhang H, Szkudlarek B and Gulanowski D 2018 'Employment support and refugee workforce integration', 11th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), Ottawa, Canada, 25th May 2018
Roy PA, Szkudlarek B, and Caprar DV 2020 'Refugees and Cross-Cultural Management Studies'. In B Szkdularek, L Romani, DV Caprar and J Osland (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of contemporary cross-cultural management (Ch. 30). Sage Publications.
Szkudlarek B 2019 'Engaging business in refugee employment: the employer's perspective.' Sydney, Australia: The University of Sydney Business School
Szkudlarek B, Nardon L, Osland J, Adler N and Lee ES 2019 'When context matters: What happens to international theory when researchers study refugees.' Academy of Management Perspectives. In-press.
Associate Professor Betina Szkudlarek speaks with Eun Su (Jeannie) Lee, researcher at the University of Sydney Business School, and Selena Choo, founder of Humans Like Us, about refugee employment.