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Visible Minorities and Job Mobility: Evidence from a Workplace Panel Survey

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We use Canadian linked employer-employee data to examine whether visible minority Canadian-borns experience any differences in their inter-firm and intra-firm job mobility, as well as wage returns associated with them, compared to white Canadian-borns. Our results suggest that both male and female visible minority Canadian-borns experience substantial differences in probability of promotion, number of times promoted, and wage returns to promotions, compared to their white peers. For male visible minorities, these differences with their white peers mainly operate within firms. For female visible minorities however, almost half of the gap is driven by their crowding into firms with fewer promotion opportunities. In terms of inter-firm mobility, while male visible minorities are similarly likely to move between firms compared to their white peers, female visible minorities are less likely to change employer. Both groups however receive similar wage returns to their inter-firm mobility compared to their white peers. This seems to suggest that lower chances for upward mobility within firms do not translate into more inter-firm mobility or higher returns to inter-firm mobility for visible minorities. We find no evidence that these differences in intra-firm mobility could be driven by differences in hierarchical level, career path, or immigration background. Labour market discrimination however remains a potential contributor to these differences, which is also consistent with some of our findings. Our results also suggest that for female visible minorities, different family responsibilities driven potentially by different cultural norms or family dynamics could also contribute to these differences.

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Javdani, M. Visible Minorities and Job Mobility: Evidence from a Workplace Panel Survey. J Econ Inequal 18, 491–524 (2020).

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