The multilevel intelligent career framework: an exploration and application to skilled migrants

Publication Name

Career Development International


Purpose: Skilled migrants' careers are heterogeneous, with existing theories capturing only some of their diversity and dynamic development over time and circumstance. This paper aims to draw out the multilevel (macro, meso and micro levels) influences impacting skilled migrants' careers by using the lens of the intelligent career framework. Furthermore, structuration theory captures the agency of skilled migrants facing different social structures at and across levels and explains the idiosyncratic nature of skilled migrants' careers. Design/methodology/approach: Following an abductive approach, this paper examines the career influences for a sample of 41 skilled migrants in three different host countries. Individual career stories were collected through qualitative interviews. Important career influences from these narratives are categorised across the intelligent career competencies (knowing why, how and whom) at the macro, meso and micro levels. Findings: Findings illustrate the lived reality for skilled migrants of these interrelated multilevel career influences and go some way in elucidating the heterogeneity of skilled migrants' careers and outcomes. The interplay of individual agency in responding to both facilitating and challenging social structures across the multilevels further explains the idiosyncratic nature of skilled migrants' careers and how/whether they achieve satisfying career outcomes. Some potential policy implications and options arising from these findings are suggested. Originality/value: By considering multilevel themes that influence skilled migrants' career capital, the authors were able to better explain the complex, relational and idiosyncratic shaping of their individual careers. As such, the framework informs and guides individuals, practitioners and organisations seeking to facilitate skilled migrants' careers.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



Link to publisher version (DOI)