Migrant worker well-being as a struggle for meaningful work: evidence from Bangladeshi migrants in a developing country

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


This article analyses the well-being of migrants in the global South for whom employment precarity has become normalized, and working and living conditions are associated with poor health, isolation, limited voice and a general lack of protection. Well-being in such contexts may be considered as a multifaceted phenomenon which manifests itself across work and other life domains to include collective sources of well-being. We also recognise the politics of working life in how precarious workers construct well-being, presenting them as engaged in a struggle for meaning in the absence of objectively meaningful work. First, we explore the objective constraints on well-being at multiple sites (personal, relational, organizational, communal) and, second, draw from a sociological perspective of meaningful work to explore worker agency in deriving subjective autonomy, recognition and dignity. Qualitative data from 41 Bangladeshi migrants in Mauritian construction, food and textile manufacturing firms showed that despite considerable challenges to personal well-being, workers engaged in informal and agentic strategies which shaped their efficacy, voice and relationships to create meaningful work. The findings reveal mechanisms underlying the construction of meaning in precarious work, showing the implications for gendered and culturally derived agency, and broadening theory on holistic and contextualized perspectives of well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528–550
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Early online date5 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • migrant well-being
  • subjective well-being
  • relational well-being
  • meaningful work
  • dignity
  • migration
  • global south
  • Bangladesh
  • Mauritius


Dive into the research topics of 'Migrant worker well-being as a struggle for meaningful work: evidence from Bangladeshi migrants in a developing country'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this