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Intra-Firm Upward Mobility and Immigration

  • Javdani, Mohsen


    (University of British Columbia, Okanagan)

  • McGee, Andrew


    (Simon Fraser University)

We examine how immigrants in Canada fare in terms of promotions relative to their native peers. Using linked employer-employee data and firm effects, we identify the extent to which differences in promotion outcomes result from immigrants sorting into firms offering "dead-end" jobs versus facing intra-firm barriers to advancement. We find that while white immigrants experience broadly similar promotion outcomes relative to their white native peers, visible minority immigrants – particularly those in their first five years in Canada – are substantially less likely to have been promoted and have been promoted fewer times with their employers than their white native peers. Newly arrived female visible minority immigrants sort into firms offering "dead end" jobs, but most of the differences in promotion outcomes between immigrants and their native peers result from intra-firm differences in promotion outcomes. The findings imply that policies that do not tackle barriers to advancement within firms may be insufficient to address the difficulties faced by immigrants in the labor force.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7378.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7378
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  1. Liliana D. Sousa, 2013. "Human Capital Traps? Enclave Effects Using Linked Employer-Household Data," Working Papers 13-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Green, David A, 1999. "Immigrant Occupational Attainment: Assimilation and Mobility over Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 49-79, January.
  3. Casey Warman, 2006. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Earnings Growth," Working Papers 1261, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  4. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
  5. Ana Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2008. "Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 186-216, February.
  6. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1998. "The Earnings of Immigrant Men in Canada: Job Tenure, Cohort, and Macroeconomic Conditions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 465-482, April.
  7. Pendakur, Krishna & Woodcock, Simon D., 2009. "Glass Ceilings or Glass Doors? Wage Disparity Within and Between Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 4626, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
  9. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2008. "Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 459-477, August.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:4:p:921-55 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Green, David A. & Worswick, Christopher, 2012. "Immigrant earnings profiles in the presence of human capital investment: Measuring cohort and macro effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 241-259.
  12. Stella Nkomo & Taylor Cox, 1990. "Factors affecting the upward mobility of black managers in private sector organizations," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 39-57, December.
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