Quotation Eggenhofer-Rehart, Petra, Latzke, Markus, Pernkopf, Katharina, Zellhofer, Dominik, Mayrhofer, Wolfgang, Steyrer, Johannes. 2017. Refugees` career capital: An enabler of sustainable careers? 33rd EGOS Colloquium, Copenhagen, Denmark, 06.07.-08.07.




In 2014-2016 more than 160,000 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries applied for asylum in Austria, and asylum status and thus the permission to work, was granted to over 40,000 applicants. Official statistics show that unemployment among refugees remains extremely high. In addition to having to find a place to live and learn about and adapt to the host country’s culture, seeking and obtaining employment appears to be particularly challenging for refugees. The obstacles and boundaries they encounter go beyond those faced by voluntary migrants striving for employment. Building on the concept of sustainable careers (Van der Heijden & De Vos, 2015) that focuses on the four core dimensions time, social space, agency and meaning, we argue that refugees face challenges in all four of these dimensions when trying to enter the labor market in the host country. Theoretically, we approach these core dimensions by using the concept of relational career capital (Latzke et al., 2015) which is based on Bourdieu’s (1986) notion of social, cultural and economic capital and his understanding that the value of an agent’s capital depends on the social field in which an agent seeks to make use of it. Empirically, based on 35 semi-structured interviews with refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, the purpose of our study is to explore how refugees, being faced with disruptions in the core dimensions of sustainable careers, strive to transfer the various forms of career capital they have accumulated in their home country to Austria as their new host country, and thus to a different institutional and social context, and what strategies they seek to apply in order to reshape or renegotiate their existing and to accumulate new career capital in their host country.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Refugees` career capital: An enabler of sustainable careers?
Event 33rd EGOS Colloquium
Year 2017
Date 06.07.-08.07.
Country Denmark
Location Copenhagen


Eggenhofer-Rehart, Petra (Details)
Latzke, Markus (Details)
Pernkopf, Katharina (Details)
Zellhofer, Dominik (Details)
Mayrhofer, Wolfgang (Details)
Steyrer, Johannes (Details)
Interdisciplinary Institute for Management and Organizational Behavior IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5300 Economics (Details)
5502 Occupational-, industrial psychology (Details)
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