University of Sussex

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A multi-level understanding of the careers of minority ethnic elites

posted on 2023-06-08, 13:33 authored by Akram Al Ariss, Joana Vassilopoulou, Dimitria Groutsis, Mustafa F Ozbilgin
The purpose of this chapter is to theorise the experience of minority ethnic elites in their host countries. We frame the notion of ‘minority ethnic elite’ as workers who possess high levels of education and who sometimes are able to gain access to elite forms of professional education and employment. We also demonstrate that the link between their skills and career success is not simply unidirectional as identified by human capital theorists. We adopt a multi-level perspective through which we frame experiences of minority ethnic elites in pursuit of their careers. We identify a gap in and contribute to the literature on careers, which to date, we argue, fails to capture the experiences of minority ethnic elites. In order to capture the experiences of minority ethnic elites, we ask two key questions: First, what are the coping strategies of migrant elites in their efforts to develop their careers? To address this question we draw on findings of a field study examining the career experience of migrant elites in France. Second, we ask how the abilities and skills of ethnic minority elites are undermined across various job criteria by the majority ethnic group?. The field study from Germany seeks to explain the experiences of minority ethnic elites in the context of organizational structures. These two studies are presented in this same order. We make a distinction between migrant and minority ethnic workers. As many minority ethnic workers themselves do not have migration experience. Nevertheless, they face similar and sometimes even stronger barriers to labour market entry. The first study uses the term migrant as the participants are drawn from groups who have personally experienced migration, with a focus on migrants from Lebanon to France. However, the second study focuses on minority ethnic workers who were born and educated in Germany. We use the term minority ethnic as an overarching concept to refer to individuals who are not from majority ethnic groups


Publication status

  • Published


Palgrave Macmillan

Book title

Global elites : the opaque nature of transnational policy determination

Place of publication




Department affiliated with

  • Business and Management Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


Andrew Kakabadse, Nada Kakabadse

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