Labor Markets for Transnational Corporations: Nationalized and Localized Space in Global Context

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Minori MATSUTANI, Kyoto University, Education, Japan
Transnational corporations’ role in globalization is significant since their operations now stretch across national borders, influencing global production processes and the international division of labor (Giddens 2013). When trying to conceptualize the privatization of international labor recruitment, we need to consider the role of these corporations as one of the main actors of migration industry. Sassen(1988) described how the investment flows of US transnational corporations to Third World accelerate the labor flows from Third World to the US. This paper, in contrast, focuses on the reverse-oriented flow of white-collar workers triggered by the offshore of transnational corporations. Transnational corporations not only draw labor migrants to their home countries, but also pull home countries’ white-collar workers to their investment destinations. Based on the case study of Japanese migrants hired by Japanese transnational corporations in Shanghai, this paper examines the significant features of the migration system of white-collar workers’ reverse-oriented mobility. And it shows how transnational corporations and recruitment agencies arrange the migratory flows and how the transnational labor markets’ prosperities affect the migrants’ experiences.

The international labor recruitment systems are privatized both in South-North mobility and in North-South mobility, though they have differences in some respects. Three main features of the migration system of the case are (1)low cost of international migration, (2)relatively small role of network and the rebuilding of it in the process of migration, and (3)relocation of the workforce mobility in the short term. The first two points derives from the patterns of flow direction of migration and the last point is related to the properties of the specific labor market. Migrant workers will enter new transnational labor markets formulated for the transnational corporations. They struggle with fluidity and liquidity of the transformed labor market, which are nationalized at base but localized by the surroundings.