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Careers of skilled migrants: understanding the experiences of Malagasy physicians in France

Lovanirina Ramboarison‐Lalao (Human Resource Management, Ecole de Management Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France)
Akram Al Ariss (Head of the HRM Department, Champagne School of Management, Troyes, France)
Isabelle Barth (CESAG Research Center, Ecole de Management Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 3 February 2012



France is a country that widely relies on a skilled labour force. Nevertheless, very little is written in the management literature on the career experiences of skilled migrants, in particular from developing countries, in France. This paper argues that in order to understand the management of skilled migrants in France, there is a need to better understand their career experiences. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to fill this knowledge gap by offering an enhanced understanding of the career experiences of Malagasy migrant physicians in France.


Based on the life story of 17 Malagasy migrant physicians and an interview with a Malagasy director of a private clinic who recruited Malagasy physicians to work in France, the paper sheds light on their career choices and challenges that they face in the French job market.


The results clearly highlight two career profiles: firstly, those who succeeded in working as physicians either directly upon their graduation, or throughout an “interstitial” career in nursing, a way to eventually reach their profession of physician. Second, findings show that there were participants who definitively switched to a nursing profession. For this second group, migration emerges as a challenging experience leading to talent waste and therefore to downward career mobility.


While literature on international careers frequently describe international mobility as being beneficial for skilled migrants, the findings yield limited support for this assumption. Instead, human capital was insufficient in explaining the career outcome of migrant physicians in France. Beyond the assumption that human capital is sufficient for undertaking a successful international experience, the paper contribute's to the literature on international careers by focusing on an under‐researched group (i.e. Malagasy physicians in France) and demonstrating the complex nature of their career experiences.



Ramboarison‐Lalao, L., Al Ariss, A. and Barth, I. (2012), "Careers of skilled migrants: understanding the experiences of Malagasy physicians in France", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 116-129.



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