Career Strategies and Spatial (im-)Mobility Among Skilled Migrants Between Asia and Europe: The Role of Gender Power Dynamics in the Work-Family Interaction

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Kyoko SHINOZAKI , Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
This paper aims to unravel the gendered career strategies of skilled migrants in Germany’s financial and academic sectors, which are being developed not only in tandem, but also often in negotiation, with gender relations in the family. Much of the current scholarly effort in the field of skilled migration and mobility has concentrated on the principal migrant and work-related context, treating the family as a rather secondary, separate and essentially 'female' terrain. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with highly skilled mobile workers from Asia, this paper shows that these two terrains, work and family, are closely interrelated in building skilled migrant workers' career pathways. Germany has lately joined the "global war for talent" to seek out highly skilled migrant workers, but although the number of skilled women entering through Germany’s skilled migratory regime may in fact be small, the experiences of migrant, dual career couples show that their transnational career strategies have a strong bearing on the fine balancing act and negotiation of gender relations in the family. The overall aim of this paper is to show the contrasting – and often gendered – strategies devised by highly skilled couples, which can widen our understanding of the role that the family plays in international skilled mobility.