International graduates' endeavours for work in Australia: the experience of international graduates of accounting transitioning into Australian labour market

Year: 2013

Author: Rahimi, Mohammad Ali, Arber, Ruth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on the findings of a three year longitudinal study investigating why international graduates appear to have a low rate of employment in acknowledged skill shortages areas of health, engineering and accounting, despite having Australian-credentialed skills in these disciplines. The cases explored in this paper outline the transformative effect of students study and life experience in Australia as they complete their university qualifications and seek employment in Australia. Longitudinal data collected through repeated interviews of recent international graduates explores the ways how graduates' speak about their experiences as they live and work in Australia  before and after graduation.   
The focus of this paper is the ways in which international students/graduates of accounting in Australian Universities negotiate their professional and sociocultural identities during their study and post-study stay in Australia. Drawing on over 50 in-depth interviews with international students and graduates, and using three case studies of graduates, this paper examines the transition of international graduates from university to workplaces.
Using sociocultural theory, the paper examines the ways how international students endeavour to overcome the structural and non-structural challenges that mediate the ways students seek to accomplish their aspirations before and after the completion of their  university qualifications. International graduates' success in finding work and staying in Australia varied widely depending on their communication skills, involvement in extracurricular activities during their study as well as the extent they were able to address the criteria for a permanent resident visa. We argue that these personal and structural components were impacted on by systemic terms and conditions which frame cultured and gendered discourse.