Young Australian accountants as ‘gold collar' migrants: class, professional socialisation and the life course
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:26 authored by Carina Louise Hart
In the developing field focusing on young, highly-skilled migrants, much research continues to focus on individuals whose migration is facilitated though intra-corporate transfers (ICT) rather than those who self-initiate. This study asks, how do young elite professionals engage with international labour mobility as self-initiated migrants, and how is this labour migration intertwined with their life course plans and practice? Drawing on semi-structured interviews with young Australian accountants who have recently worked for a year or more in London, this thesis investigates how the socialisation of young accountants throughout university and graduate employment at top global firms influences the role that migration plays in individual’s life plans. I argue that migration timing, attitudes and experiences of these professionals are significantly informed by their class backgrounds and socialisation at elite firms. Interviewees conceptualised their migration as a two-year holiday whilst simultaneously emphasising personal and career ambitions, using cost-benefit language to justify past and future life decisions. These findings highlight the ways in which formal and informal corporate training provides graduates with future advantages such as accelerated careers and access to overseas job markets, whilst informing their professional identities, attitudes to work and approach to life course planning long after leaving graduate employment.