Original Research

The career development processes of women refugees in South Africa: An exploratory study

Tatenda Nyabvudzi, Willie T. Chinyamurindi
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1662 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1662 | © 2019 Tatenda Nyabvudzi, Willie T. Chinyamurindi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 March 2019 | Published: 20 August 2019

About the author(s)

Tatenda Nyabvudzi, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: There is an observed global movement of labour (freely and forcibly). South Africa emerges as a popular receiving ground for refugees. Within the career psychology literature, scant attention is given to understanding the career development concerns, post-settlement, of women refugees in the host country.

Research purpose: The study explored the career development processes of women refugees, post-settlement, in South Africa as a host country.

Motivation for the study: Calls have been made within local and international literature for studies that give attention to understanding the career development processes of minority groups.

Research approach/design and method: Using a narrative inquiry approach, this study explored the career development processes of women refugees using a sample of 20 women refugees in South Africa. Relying on a snowball sampling procedure to recruit the participants, in-depth interviews were utilised as a data collection technique.

Main findings: Drawing on participants’ narratives, the findings illustrate how women refugees have been more concerned with fulfilling a short-term desire for survival and acquiring basic commodities at the expense of a longer focus of advancement and career progression. This is mainly compounded by the structural constraints that limit both their career development and their lived experiences. Issues exclusive to the women refugees are also revealed. Overall, the results illustrate how all the aforementioned factors intersect as barriers that hinder women refugees in developing their careers.

Practical/managerial implications: The study provides information and strategies that policymakers in South Africa and other developing nations that are hosting refugees can use to facilitate the career development processes of women refugees.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge focussing on career development of women refuges, a populace that previously received limited focus both locally and internationally.


Keywords

South Africa; women; refugees; career development; minority groups.

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