Research on Finnish Society 10(1):2017

Searching for employment: Highly educated immigrant women and combined capabilities

Tytti Steel & Marjut Jyrkinen
University of Helsinki

Our paper addresses the ways in which highly educated immigrant women encounter and experience employment services in Finland. This qualitative study examines a group of women who have experience with both governmentally funded Employment and Economic Centre services (TE Services) and services o ered by the third sector. The research question in this paper is as follows: How do the employment services support the capabilities of immigrant women job seekers trying to find work? Our analysis is inspired by Sen’s capability approach and Nussbaum’s concept of combined capabilities. The first empirical section addresses women with a foreign background as job seekers and their internal capabilities. We look at the enabling factors and hurdles faced by highly educated immigrant women trying to enter the job market due to their gender and age. In the second empirical section, we analyse how the combined capabilities are constructed through contacts with employment services

Keywords: Working life, job seeking, capability, immigration, employment services, gender

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