The quest of finding one's place in the labour market : Self-defined career success among young Finnish Somali adults

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Title: The quest of finding one's place in the labour market : Self-defined career success among young Finnish Somali adults
Author: Pitkänen, Kaisa
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2015
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sociology
Abstract: In many societies individuals with immigrant backgrounds find themselves in weaker labour market positions compared to members of the majority population. Difficulties in labour market participation are widely discussed in society but positive examples are often left out of the picture. This thesis will take a look at young adults who have fared. Six young Finnish Somali adults, including three women and three men, aged 25–33 were interviewed for this study in regards to their experiences of career success in the context of the Finnish labour market. The theoretical framework of this thesis will lie on the sociology of work, or more specifically: the three different forms of capital i.e. human, social and cultural capital, which have a major role in an individual’s employment. The thesis attempts to respond to two interwoven questions: how do these young adults define career success and what roles have human, social and cultural capital played in their labour market success. The notion of career success took many forms in the accounts of the six young Finnish Somali adults under study. For all of the interviewees, career success was about anchoring oneself to working life and attaining a satisfying position in the labour market. It was about overcoming obstacles, attaining personal goals and a feeling of belonging. Main factors that supported achieving success in the labour market included: support provided by parents, a positive stance towards education, a Finnish diploma, encouragement and help from colleagues, a good employer, a personal Finnish mentor, valuing own difference, self-awareness, determination, flexibility and a positive attitude. Although this study provides perspectives into the realities of a specific group of young adults, the findings of this research can be seen to point to some possible answers on how to work towards equality for young ethnic minority members in the Finnish labour market at large. The key to expand the labour market opportunities of young ethnic minority members in Finland is to invest in their human, social and cultural capital.

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