Escalators, elevators and travelators: the occupational mobility of migrants to South-East England

Allan Findlay, Colin Mason, Donald Houston, David McCollum, Richard Harrison

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In a meritocratic society it is assumed that the chance of achieving occupational mobility (OM) is not strongly influenced by one's starting position in terms of class or ethnicity. This paper seeks to explain the drivers of the high levels of OM achieved by one ethnically defined group: the Scots. Educational attainment is shown to be particularly important. A second level of interest is the changing role of internal migrants to a global city in the face of increased international skilled immigration. We investigate whether there is any evidence that the OM of internal migrants is being hindered as a result. The evidence points instead to immobile local labour being more disadvantaged occupationally than mobile labour from peripheral regions of the state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-879
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2009


  • occupational mobility
  • escalator regions
  • global cities
  • Scottish migration

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