Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Immigrants and the Dynamics of High-Wage Jobs

Document type Article
Author Skuterud, Mikal
Author Su, Mingcui
Journal Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume 65
Date 2012
ISSN 0019-7939
Pages 377-397


The authors exploit immigrant identifiers in the Canadian Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the longitudinal dimension of these data to compare the labor force and job dynamics of immigrants and nativeborn workers. They examine the role of job, as opposed to worker, heterogeneity in driving immigrant wage disparities and investigate how the paths into and out of jobs of varying quality compare between immigrant and native-born workers. They find that the disparity in immigrant job quality, which does not appear to diminish with years since arrival, reflects a combination of relatively low transitions into high-wage jobs and high transitions out of these jobs. The former result appears to be due equally to difficulties obtaining high-wage jobs directly out of unemployment and to using low-wage jobs as stepping-stones. The authors find little or no evidence, however, that immigrant job seekers face barriers to low-wage jobs.