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All look the same? Diversity of labour market outcomes of Chinese ethnic group populations in the UK

Mok, Tze Ming and Platt, Lucinda ORCID: 0000-0002-8251-6400 (2018) All look the same? Diversity of labour market outcomes of Chinese ethnic group populations in the UK. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. ISSN 1369-183X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1524291


With high average levels of qualifications and pay, ethnic Chinese minorities in the UK are often regarded as a migrant ‘success story’. At the same time, the limited evidence we have suggests that Chinese minorities may face ethnic penalties in the labour market, and that there is considerable heterogeneity within the aggregate Chinese ethnic category. In this paper, we address these issues of labour market outcomes and heterogeneity among UK Chinese using 38 pooled quarters of the UK Labour Force Survey. We show that for both wages and employment there are differences in labour market experience across five distinct Chinese origin groups compared to those similarly qualified in the white majority. Consistent ‘winners’ are Taiwan and Malaysian-born Chinese, while Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong-born experience substantial wage penalties. UK-born Chinese face wage penalties when working in traditional industries, in which they continue to cluster, and unemployment penalties. An important contributory factor to labour market outcomes of the different groups appears to be the extent of their relationship with the ethnic economy. We relate our findings to theories of ethnic embeddedness and enclave economies, as well as to the varying contexts of reception faced by immigrants from different cohorts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Routledge
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 16:25
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:04

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