Lee, E., Szkudlarek, B., Nguyen, D., Nardon, L. Unveiling the canvas ceiling: a multidisciplinary literature review of refugee employment and workforce integration, International Journal of Management Reviews

Increasing levels of displacement and the need to integrate refugees in the workforce pose new challenges to organizations and societies. Extant research on refugee employment and workforce integration currently resides across various disconnected disciplines, posing a significant challenge for management scholars to contribute to timely and relevant solutions. In this paper, we endeavour to address this challenge by reviewing and synthesizing multidisciplinary literature on refugee employment and workforce integration. Using a relational framework, we organize our findings around three levels of analysis – institutional, organizational and individual – to outline the complexity of factors affecting refugees’ employment outcomes. Based on our analysis, we introduce and elaborate on the phenomenon of the canvas ceiling ‒ a systemic, multilevel barrier to refugee workforce integration and professional advancement. The primary contributions of this paper are twofold. First, we map and integrate the multidisciplinary findings on the challenges of refugee workforce integration. Second, we provide management scholarship with a future research agenda to address the knowledge gap identified in this review and advance practical developments in this domain.