Migration and career success: testing a time‐sequenced model

Nithya Tharmaseelan (North Shore International Academy, Auckland, New Zealand)
Kerr Inkson (University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Stuart C. Carr (Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Publication date: 22 June 2010



The paper seeks to determine whether different aspects of migrant pre‐migration characteristics (human capital and motivation to migrate) and post‐migration behaviour (social integration and career self‐management) predict migrants' post‐migration career success.


The research employed a survey questionnaire applied to a sample of 210 migrants who had migrated from Sri Lanka to New Zealand. Twenty‐three independent and three dependent (career success – objective and subjective) variables were measured. Sequential multiple regression analysis was applied, mirroring the time‐sequenced theory of career development.


Overall, migrants' occupational status had declined markedly following migration. Variables representing human capital, social integration and career self‐management perspectives all contributed substantially to explaining variances in career success, especially objective career success, but motivation to migrate did not. Human capital variables were especially influential in determining pre‐migration success, acculturation in the host country and education in the host country in post‐migration success. Effects of career self‐management behaviours on success were relatively small.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation is the cross‐sectional design, and possible non‐generalisability beyond a single migrant group and host country.

Practical implications

The paper discusses implications for migrants, policy makers and future research.


Migration, and interest in research on migrants' careers, is growing. This paper applies a wide range of predictor variables and a logical causal model to predicting migrant career success, indicates significant effects, and points to positive actions that may be taken by government, organisations and migrants.



Tharmaseelan, N., Inkson, K. and Carr, S. (2010), "Migration and career success: testing a time‐sequenced model", Career Development International, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 218-238. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620431011053712

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