Management discourse and research on workplaces now argue that diversity is good for organisations . First, in terms of how organisations are perceived by and respond to an increasingly diverse client base; secondly, the assumption that diversity of ideas and experience leads to innovation and therefore can improve productivity; and finally that it is the right thing to do in what are now globalized labour markets and multinational organisations in the 21stC seeking new talent (Brown and Hesketh 2004). Despite this, many middle size and multinational organisations in Australia still recruit graduates in engineering, accountancy and nursing based on the notion of ‘ best fit’ relative, they argue, to the position, the organizational culture and objectives. ‘Best fit’ results in many instances in homosociability. Whereas homosociality is about bonding in same sex relations at work and leisure activities, homosociability more broadly is about prefering ‘someone like ourselves’. Employers and workers like to ‘feel comfortable’ working in teams and in everyday communication and interactions (Blackmore et al 2007). The result can be less racial, ethnic or gender diversity in recruitment practices in these professions as they tend historically to be dominated by Anglo males in engineering and accounting or females in nursing, although each field has distinctive recruitment processes.
Graduate employability has become a major issue for universities and in particular for international graduates (Brown et al 2010). The context is one of the rapid expansion of the international student market, upon which many university systems are increasingly economically reliant, particularly from source countries India and China, with the USA, UK and Australia key players. At the same time, there has been a tightening of visa requirements reducing opportunities to gain permanent residence and/or work in a period of domestic concerns over migration, refugees, and signs of professional unemployment in host countries.
This paper draws from empirical data gathered in a three-year study investigating what happens to international graduates who are seeking employment in their host country, in this instance Australia. Conceptually, the theoretical tools of Bourdieu are useful in terms of understanding why international students chose Australia, their discipline, the particular university and what their employment expectations were in terms of the wider policy doxa (Grenfell 2006) that international students would become ‘global workers’ (Brown et al 2010). Bourdieu’s (1986,1992) notion of habitus offers significant understanding of how their dispositions were informed by their educational and Australian experience and how the cultural and economic capital they brought with them was enhanced by social capital gained through that experience. The study is significant in investigating not only student but also employer perceptions of graduate employability, and the recruitment practices graduate applicants were expected to undertake and this paper focuses on employer understandings of graduate employability.
Blackmore, J. Gribble, C. & Rahimi, M. (2017) International education, the formation of capital and graduate employment Critical Studies in Education DOI:10.1080/17508487.2015.1117505 Blackmore, J. et al (2007) Homosociability, the Search for Security and the Production of Normalised Principal Identities Educational Management, Administration and Leadership 34(3) 297-317 Bourdieu, P. (1992) The Logic of Practice. Cambridge. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. E. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory of research for the sociology of education New York. Brown, P. et al. (2010). The Global Auction: Oxford University Press. Brown, P., & Hesketh, A. (2004). The mismanagement of talent: Employability and the competition for jobs in the knowledge economy. Oxford. Gribble, C & Blackmore, J. (2012): Re-positioning Australia's international education in global knowledge economies: implications of shifts in skilled migration policies for universities, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 34:4, 341-354 Gribble, C. & Rahimi, M. & Blackmore, J. (2016) International students and post study employment , in Tran. L. T. & Gomes, C. (Eds). International student engagement and identity. Springer Lin, L. (2012, August 22). China's Graduates Face Glut, Wall Street Journal. Patton, D. (2009). China: Pressure to improve graduate job skills. Retrieved November 12, 2012, from www.universityworldnews.com
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