Beliefs and Realities of Indian Contingent Workers in the UK - Evidence from Experiences in the IT Industry
32 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2014
Date Written: February 20, 2014
This empirical paper seeks to enrich our understanding of the experiences of Indian IT highly-skilled contingent workers (HSCWs) in the UK. We turn away from any preconceived notions of what contingent work may involve and, through the narratives of a group of IT workers from India working in the UK, we learn how they make sense of their own situation. By using focus groups, we canvass first the initial motivations and beliefs of these workers that led them to consider contingent work in the UK. We compare these to the realities that they were confronted with while working in the UK IT industry. Our study reveals that HSCWs anticipated higher incomes abroad and believed that an international business experience will be highly valued upon their desired eventual return to India, which they perceived to be on a steep upward economic trajectory. On arrival in the UK, whilst their income expectations are met, they are also confronted with questions of job security, acceptance and integration, race, culture, and professional development. In the prevailing anti-immigarnt sentiment in the UK, they are often seen as taking jobs from locals. But, in contrast with traditional perceptions of contingent work, as uncertain and precarious, they remained optimism about their professional prospects and career development.
Keywords: contingent work, highly-skilled workers, IT industry, off-shoring
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