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The Impact of the Global Refugee Crisis on the Career Ecosystem

Special issue call for papers from Career Development International

Guest Editors

Julia Richardson, Curtin Business School, Curtin University, Perth, Australia, [email protected]

Charlotte Karam
, Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, [email protected]

Fida Afiouni, Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, [email protected]

The global refugee crisis is currently at the centre of much public and scholarly debate with concerns about its potential impact on national labour markets and social systems. The magnitude of this situation is clearly reflected in the UN Refugee Agency’s report that “one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world's 24th biggest” (UNHCR, 2015). Taking into account the increasing connectedness of world markets and the apparent failure of diplomatic talks, the current crisis looks likely to have far reaching effects well into the future. Yet, with a few exceptions (e.g. Newman, Bimrose and Zacher, 2016; Yakushko, Backhaus, Watson, Ngaruiya and Gonzalez, 2008), management and career scholars have remained relatively silent about the implications of the crisis for business and management practices and for individual careers and career systems in particular.

Although refugees are arguably similar to other internationally mobile career actors such as immigrants, they are different in the sense that they been ‘forced’ to leave a country by circumstances beyond their control (Stewart, 2007). Moreover, they often encounter specific and longstanding restrictions on their mobility, access to labour migration schemes, and formal employment possibilities (Long, 2015; Long and Crisp, 2010). Their sheer numbers, particularly during a large influx, may also have a direct impact on their career opportunities and access to host country career systems more generally. We must also acknowledge that there is considerable diversity among refugees who may include highly skilled professionals as well as low-skilled workers with limited ‘transferable skills’. The impact of this diversity is, as yet, unknown, as is the nature of their respective individual career experiences and opportunities.

We also know very little about the impact of the influx of refugees on career systems and labour markets more generally. Thus, for example, how can the “stress” that refugees place on career systems (Troyan, 2015) be transformed into opportunities for national economic development? To what extent do refugees create new “niche” career subsystems to boost local economies? We also know very little about the impact of refugees on the “career dynamics” of the informal economy and the impact of the informal economy on creating obstacles to legitimate paths for refugee careers. The restrictive realities faced by many refugees suggest a greater likelihood of growth in informal career subsystems and unregulated micro-economies. What might be the implications of such trends?

The idea of a career ecosystem (Baruch, 2013) may offer a useful lens through which to examine the refugee crisis from the perspective of individual career actors, the contexts within which careers evolve, and the opportunities for emerging formal and informal career subsystems. It suggests, for example, that the influx of refugees is likely to have a direct impact on host and home country labour markets and career systems, as well as the transnational nature of labour dynamics. While host country nationals express concerns about threats to their job security due to the influx of a cheap labour supply (Tharmaseelan, Inkson et al. 2010), the refugee crisis has also created increasing career opportunities in the ‘caring and service professions’ such as social work and translation. As noted above, it may also open up opportunities for more diversity in career forms and trajectories.

Our main concern in this Special Issue is to draw together a collection of high quality papers reflecting the composite and dynamic nature of the refugee crisis on the career ecosystem.

Submitted papers might adopt macro and micro levels of analysis and/or the connections between them. Suggested themes might include:

•    The impact of the global refugee crisis on local/national/global career ecosystems and subsystems and employment relations.
•    The structural barriers impacting refugee employment and career opportunities and experiences.
•    The role of individual career actors and institutional forces on facilitating access to employment among refugees.
•    The impact of the refugee crisis on organizational career systems and work processes.
•    Organizational processes and practices for integrating refugees into local career systems.
•    The similarities and differences between refugee careers and the careers of other internationally mobile career actors.
•    The individual characteristics (e.g. gender, age, skill level, etc...) affecting employment and career prospects of refugees.
•    The critical incidents (positive and negative) shaping refugees’ career opportunities and experiences.
•    Exploration of the impact of skill/experience and education level on refugee career experiences and opportunities.
•    The impact of gender/race on refugee career opportunities and experiences.

We welcome conceptual, theoretical, qualitative or quantitative papers.  Contributions should report original research that is not under consideration at any other journal.  This call for papers is open and competitive, and all submitted papers will be subjected to anonymous review by referees with expertise in the field.
Review process for the selection and rejection of papers
Submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process and will be evaluated by the special issue editors. Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review.
The deadline for submissions of full papers is January 31st 2018. Authors are invited to submit a 5-6 pages proposal by July 1st 2017 to receive feedback from the Guest Editors.

Please submit enquiries to [email protected]
Submissions should be made through ScholarOne Manuscripts:
Specific details on the format for submitted manuscripts can be found at the journal’s website
Please direct any general questions about the journal or any administrative matters to the Editor, Professor Jim Jawahar ([email protected])
Baruch, Y. (2013), ‘Careers in Academe: The academic labour market as an eco-system’, Career Development International, 18(2), pp.196-210

Long, K. (2015). From Refugee to Migration? Labor Mobility’s Protection Potential. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.

Long, K. and Crisp, J. (2010) Migration, Mobility and Solutions: An Evolving Perspective. Forced Migration Review, 35, pp. 56-57

Newman, Bimrose, Nielsen, Zacher, 2016. Call for Papers: Vocational Behavior or Refugees, How do refugees seek employment, overcome work-related challenges and navigate their careers. Journal of Vocational Behavior.…

Stewart, E. (2007). Addressing the challenges facing refugee doctors in the UK. Local Economy, 22(4), pp.409-417.

Tharmaseelan, N., Inkson, K. & Carr, S.C. (2010). Migration and career success: testing a time-sequenced model, Career Development International, 15(3), pp.218-238

Troyan, M. (2015, November 16), After attacks in Paris, governors refuse to accept Syrian refugees. USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2015. From…

Yakushko, O., Backhaus, A., Watson, M., Ngaruiya, K., & Gonzalez, J. (2008). Career development concerns of recent immigrants and refugees. Journal of Career Development, 34, 4, pp. 362-396.
UNHCR (2015a) Worldwide displacement hits all-time high as war and persecution increase. (2015, June 18) UN Refugee Agency Website. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from: