The role of contextual factors in employer recruitment decision making: evidence from regional Australia
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Various scholars have suggested that the skills of accredited, permanent immigrants in Australia are, on average, underutilised. However, most research to date has approached this issue through a human capital perspective. Surprisingly, little is known of how the community context in which employers operate can influence their recruitment and selection behaviour towards immigrant professionals. This paper reports the findings of a study examining how regional community characteristics such as dense networks, bonding activities and trust influence employer screening of immigrant professionals in the IT and accounting industries. The paper draws on 21 in-depth, face-to-face interviews with human resource professionals and recruiters within a regional Australian town. We describe how these recruiters' reported lack of experience with newly arrived immigrant groups, and their dense community networks, based on trust, appear to shape attitudes towards the employment of minority ethnic immigrant professionals. A new conceptual framework incorporating community contextual factors is offered for further research into this area.