Highly skilled migrant women: a career development framework

Riana van den Bergh, Yvonne Du Plessis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – This paper aims to explore and interpret the pre-migration and post-migration career development and success of highly skilled professional migrant women with special reference to The Netherlands.
Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory approach rooted in a phenomenological perspective was followed. Two in-depth Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) focus group sessions
were held with a total of 21 self-initiated expatriate (SIE) women.
Findings – An integrated career development framework proposed in this study indicates that individual drivers such as identity, social support and life phase play a role in women’s pre-migration
and post-migration career success or exits. Identity embeddedness, host country culture, openness to foreigners and existing prejudices and stereotypes against women seems magnified for women from outside the host country.
Research implications/limitations – The research results may lack generalisability, therefore more research is encouraged to further test the proposed framework.
Practical implications – Organisations should re-think existing systems for retaining highly skilled
women migrants. Specific personnel management requirements and practical recommendations are provided for HR policy development with regard to migrant women.
Originality/value – An integrative approach and framework for understanding the career development decisions of professional and highly skilled migrant women who are also self-initiated
(SIE) is proposed. Insight is provided into the personal adjustment and professional developmental experiences of a group of women often overlooked by the research community.
Keywords Highly skilled migrant professionals, Career development, Women career success, Self-initiated expatriate women, The Netherlands
Paper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-158
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Highly skilled migrant women: a career development framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this