Do immigrants to Australia suffer from lower levels of job satisfaction?

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 12 November 2013


Coombs Seminar Room B, HC Coombs Building 9, Cnr Fellows Road and Garran Road, ANU


Parvinder Kler, Griffith University


Arianto Patunru

Immigrant labour market assimilation into host country have often been viewed via the prism of their employment rates relative to the native-born. Over time, more holistic approaches have been utilised to measure assimilation, including over-education and, more recently, job satisfaction.

Whilst research into the differences in job satisfaction levels between native-born and immigrant labour force participants have been scant, the few existing studies have suggested there is a difference.

Using the first 10 waves of the HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) panel dataset, this paper finds evidence of significant job satisfaction differences between the native-born and immigrants, in favour of the former across six measures of job satisfaction. However, when the immigrant group is split into English speaking and non-English speaking background (ESBs and NESBs) sub-groups, our finding becomes more nuanced. The gap in favour of the native-born disappears relative to ESB immigrants, but is maintained compared to NESB immigrants. When concentrating on immigrants only, we find differences in job satisfaction (in favour of ESB immigrants) across all measures, but this difference is only statistically significant for half of the job satisfaction measures.

These findings, coupled with higher rates of unemployment and over-education among NESB immigrants, suggests that immigrants are a heterogeneous group, and that more targeted policies to improve the labour market assimilation of NESB immigrants are required.

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