The gendered consequences of skill-discounting for migrants

Gerrit J.M. Treuren, Ashokkumar Manoharan, Vidya Vishnu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Skill-discounting is the term often used to describe when the knowledge, qualifications and experience of migrants are assessed by employers as being less valuable than those of domestic job seekers. As a result of skill-discounting, migrants usually struggle to obtain employment comparable to their pre-migration job. Using analysis of covariance of the Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants dataset of 109,000 migrants collected between 2009 and 2011, this article investigates whether male and female migrants experience skill-discounting differently. We compare the extent, form, processes and outcomes of skill-discounting between male and female self-initiated migrants. Female migrants are less likely to be skill-discounted, are skill-discounted for different reasons, find replacement jobs that require similar skill but lower levels of responsibility and pay considerably less than for their male counterparts, and report marginally greater job satisfaction. This article contributes to the migration literature by identifying the gendered effects of the skill-discounting of migrant expertise. It also contributes to the public policy literature by making a series of recommendations to minimise skill-discounting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-97
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number1
Early online date3 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Equal opportunity
  • gender
  • globalisation
  • job search
  • migrants
  • skill-discounting


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