Despite immigrant-receiving countries’ need for skilled professionals to meet labour demands, research suggests that many skilled migrants undergo deskilling, downward career mobility, underemployment, unemployment and talent waste, finding themselves in low-skilled occupations that are not commensurate to their education and experience. Skilled immigrant women face additional gendered disadvantages, including a disproportionate domestic burden, interrupted careers and gender segmentation in occupations and organizations. This study explores how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted skilled newcomer women’s labour market outcomes and work experiences.
The authors draw on 50 in-depth questionnaires with skilled women to elaborate on their work experiences during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic pushed skilled immigrant women towards unemployment, lower-skilled or less stable employment. Most study participants had their career trajectory delayed, interrupted or reversed due to layoffs, decreased job opportunities and increased domestic burden. The pandemic’s gendered nature and the reliance on work-from-home arrangements and online job search heightened immigrant women’s challenges due to limited social support and increased family responsibilities.
This paper adds to the conversation of increased integration challenges under pandemic conditions by contextualizing the pre-pandemic literature on immigrant work integration to the pandemic environment. Also, this paper contributes a better understanding of the gender dynamics informing the COVID-19 socio-economic climate.