“This isn't forever for me”: Perceived employability and migrant gig work in Norway and Sweden
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionEnvironment and Planning A: Economy and Space. Online First March 4, 2022. 10.1177/0308518X221083021
Information asymmetry regarding local job prospects, imperfect portability of qualifications and a lack of host country language skills combine to reduce migrants’ perceptions of their own employability. As a result, platform mediated gig work has become a common labour market entry point for new migrants. However, there is a near-universal expectation among workers is that gig work will be undertaken short-term, rather than as the first step of a longer gig-career. While research has explored the individual and structural factors, there has been limited attention as to how the specific occupational context in which a worker is embedded can also shape workers’ perceived employability. In this article, I therefore present the results of 37 semi-structured interviews with migrant Foodora couriers across Norway and Sweden, exploring how the specific occupational context of gig work intersects with migrants’ perceived employability. This article identifies, firstly, that obtaining employment in gig work was not perceived to be a reflection of workers’ own local employability. Secondly, workers’ short-term temporal orientations shape how participants are able to cope with the physical, emotional and identity demands of gig work. Thirdly, workers have to re-frame their perceived employability in the face of what is perceived to be widespread discrimination in the local labour market context. Lastly, the specific occupational context of gig work was considered to be either of no value to future local employers, or a negative signal as to a worker’s skills and labour market integration.