Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

"I Didn’t Have the Luxury to Wait": Understanding the University-to-Work Transition among Second-Generations in Britain

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Abstract:  Second-generations—children of immigrants—experience particular university-to-work transitions in the UK, including precarious entry into the labour market This article examines the importance of intersecting social divisions, such as gender and ethnicity to these transitions, and also explores complexities within long-term economic progression. By comparing the educational achievement and labour market integration of British-born female graduates from one of the largest— Pakistani—and newly settled—Algerian—migrant groups and by focusing on long-term progression from the first job postgraduation to the most recent one. Using repeat semi-structured interviews with twelve British Pakistani and Algerian female graduates, this article produces a fine-grained analysis of key academic and economic stages. It reveals how the contextualised impact of intersecting social divisions—social class, ethnicity, as proxy for culture and religion, and gender— and the ability to maximise and increase one’s identity capital i prove employability, transforming initial disadvantages into pathways for success.

Keywords:  capital; ethnicity; female graduates; gender; second-generation; social class; UK labour market; university education



© Jawiria Naseem. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.