Supporting International Graduates in the Workplace

A significant but growing minority of Australia-educated international graduates show signs of economic disadvantage in the Australian workforce, despite their Australian qualifications. While these students have gained their degrees in Australia, my research shows they are less successful in finding work in their chosen profession relative to students from English-speaking countries and Australia-born graduates. The largest disadvantage occurs for students born in India and China who are aged in their 20s.

They face discrimination from employers who exclude considering them for roles, presuming that their English language skills are poor, or that their cultural differences would make them a poor organisational fit. This is not aligned with evidence showing that cultural diversity enriches workplaces

Woman working at the Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney
Woman at work

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Rethinking the Life Course

In many Western societies, we go about our daily routine, we generally think about our life trajectory following a fairly linear path. We think of life stages as being sequential: each stage follows the next. We are born, then we go through our childhood: we go to school, we go through our teenage years. We then become adults – we leave home, we go to work, we get married, we have kids. Then we grow old: we retire, we enjoy our leisure time, and eventually as we age we will die. The issue is that life does really fit this neat journey. Not everyone can or wants to have kids. Not everyone can jump straight from study to work. We know this yet society doesn’t really help us prepare for the disruptions along the way.

So what happens specifically if our work lives are disrupted? What can employers learn from taking a life course approach to hiring new staff? This post discusses the social science research on how work disruptions can be better supported through community services and better workplace planning. Continue reading “Rethinking the Life Course”

Culture is Important in Capitalist Business

“Even at the heart of capitalist business, culture is important. A purely strategic approach isn’t sustainable.” In “Solidarity in Strategy, ” Dr Lyn Spillman shows that business is not purely about self interest and profit. Business networks are driven to success through collaboration. Civic action and working towards the common good have taken on new meaning in the market. This is why an understanding of social and cultural relationships is central to economic progress. Continue reading “Culture is Important in Capitalist Business”

How to Manage Stress at Work

How can you better address the experience of stress and work? Research shows that stress comes from many sources, but the cumulative effect can lead to chronic illness. Sane Australia reports that one in five Australians will experience some form of mental illness.

Many people manage stress in unhealthy ways because they don’t understand the resources available to them or because they don’t have a good support system in place, including at work. Social science can be used to better understand and improve corporate mental health programs.

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How to Improve Your Focus

Your Social Science Snack for the week is about using social science to become more aware about mental wellbeing.

Psychologist Wendy Hasenkam has conducted research on how to improve mental focus. She argues that “The more focused we are, the more successful we can be at whatever we do.” She shows that the ability to focus is like a muscle that you can train. There are four key ways to achieve this, centred on better breathing methods and a deeper understanding of our thinking patterns. Continue reading “How to Improve Your Focus”

Social Science Quote of the Week: Failure and Learning

Your Social Science Quote of the Week comes from Jennifer Riel, associate director of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking at the University of Toronto. Riel writes: “We fail to create, because creativity brings with it the chance of failure, and failure is bad. It is dangerous to our ego and our livelihood. Yet, we know failure is crucial to learning – the key to embracing failure is to build opportunities for failure, and revision, into the innovation process as early as possible. Build rough prototypes and get testing, rather than waiting late into the process. The earlier you fail, the … Continue reading Social Science Quote of the Week: Failure and Learning