East Londoners as the Workforce for London 2012

  • Niloufar Vadiati
Part of the Mega Event Planning book series (MEGAEP)


The proportion of occupational gains going to local East Londoners, from the beginning of the bid onwards, was considered with scepticism, particularly when it came to high-skilled positions. This chapter details the ethnographic data collection of local East Londoners’ experiences of London 2012 in terms of their employment. Empirical data was gathered for both lower-skilled and higher-skilled jobs, providing highly relevant insights into the reasons why the London Olympic employment programmes, despite their ambitious intentions, achieved only limited success for the career mobilisation of local residents.

It has been evidenced that many local East Londoners, due to the UK recession and long experience of poverty and exclusion in East London, had set their career aspirations on ‘survival mode’. The chapter offers detailed accounts of career motivation, cautiousness, and their limitations towards the mainstream labour market, particularly towards Olympic Jobs.


Ethnography Locality Workforce Education Occupational motives Social networks 


  1. Ali, R. (2013). The Olympic legacy has failed to bring jobs to London’s East End. Olympic legacy. Guardian News and Media Limited.Google Scholar
  2. BBC. (2013). Why have the white British left London?Google Scholar
  3. Beatty, C., Fothergill, S., Houston, D., Powell, R., and Sissons, P. (2009). A gendered theory of employment, unemployment, and sickness. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 27(6), pp. 958–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berthoud, R. (2003). Disabled people and jobs. Benefits, 11(3), pp. 169–174.Google Scholar
  5. Bhachu, P. (1991). Culture, ethnicity and class among Punjabi Sikh women in 1990s Britain. Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies, 17(3), pp. 401–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P., and Wacquant, L. J. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, T., and Hamnett, C. (2011). Ethnicity, class and aspiration: understanding London’s new East End. Policy Press.Google Scholar
  8. Butler, T., and Savage, M. (2013). Social change and the middle classes. Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Coulter, Steve. (2016). The UK labour market and the ‘great recession’. In: Martin Myant, Sotiria Theodoropoulou, and Agnieszka Piasna (eds.), Unemployment, internal devaluation and labour market deregulation in Europe. Brussels, Belgium: European Trade Union Institute, pp. 197–227.Google Scholar
  10. Dustmann, C., and Theodoropoulos, N. (2010). Ethnic minority immigrants and their children in Britain. Oxford Economic Papers, 62(2), pp. 209–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Greater London Authority (GLA). (2010). Proposed review into the skills and employment opportunities during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games time period. London.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, S., and Savage, M. (2015). Animating the urban vortex: new sociological urgencies. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40, pp. 82–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamnett, C. and Butler, T. (2013). Re-classifying London: a growing middle class and increasing inequality: a response to Mark Davidson and Elvin Wyly’s ‘Class-ifying London: questioning social division and space claims in the post-industrial metropolis’. City, 17(2), pp. 197–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heath, A. F., Rothon, C., and Kilpi, E. (2008). The second generation in Western Europe: education, unemployment, and occupational attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, pp. 211–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kennelly, J., and Watt, P. (2011). Sanitizing public space in Olympic host cities: the spatial experiences of marginalized youth in 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London. Sociology, 45(5), pp. 765–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Learning Legacy, London 2012. (2011). LOCOG employment and skills strategy. Olympic Delivery Authority.Google Scholar
  17. Lindley, J. (2009). The over-education of UK immigrants and minority ethnic groups: evidence from the Labour Force Survey. Economics of Education Review, 28(1), pp. 80–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lindsay, I. (2013). London 2012: securing urban Olympic delivery. Sport in Society, 16(2), pp. 223–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lindsay, I. (2014). Living with London’s Olympics: an ethnography. Springer.Google Scholar
  20. London DataStore. (2010). Employee jobs by sector. London: Greater London Authority.Google Scholar
  21. London Growth Boroughs. (2011). Convergence Annual Report. Mayor of London & London Assembly.Google Scholar
  22. McRobbie, A. (2011). Re-thinking creative economy as radical social enterprise. Variant, 41(Spring), pp. 32–33.Google Scholar
  23. McRobbie, A. (2016). Towards a sociology of fashion micro-enterprises: methods for creative economy research. Sociology, 50(5), pp. 934–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meadows, P. (2008). Local initiatives to help workless people find and keep paid work. Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. OECD. (2015). Assessment and recommendations. In: OECD Economic Survey of the United Kingdom 2015, pp. 7–48.Google Scholar
  26. Office for National Statistics (2010). Standard Occupational Classification 2010: Volume 1 Structure and descriptions of unit groups. Office for National Statistics. London, 2010. Available at:
  27. Office for National Statistics. (2011). Office for National Statistics Labour Force. Labour Force Survey. London: Office for National Statistics.Google Scholar
  28. Poynter, G., and MacRury, I. (eds.) (2009). Olympic cities: 2012 and the remaking of London. Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Poynter, G. (2012). London: preparing for 2012. In: Olympic cities. London: Routledge, pp. 183–199.Google Scholar
  30. Raco, M., and Tunney, E. (2010). Visibilities and invisibilities in urban development: small business communities and the London Olympics 2012. Urban Studies, 47(10), pp. 2069–2091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., and Ormston, R. (eds.) (2013). Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. Sage.Google Scholar
  32. Sissons, P., Dewson, S., Martin, R., and Carta, E. (2010). Understanding worklessness in Newham. Institute of Employment Studies.Google Scholar
  33. SQW Limited. (2013). Olympic Job Evaluation. Final report. London: Mayor of London. Retrieved March 2015, from
  34. Tackey, N. D., Casebourne, J., Aston, J., Ritchie, H., Sinclair, A., Tyers, C., Hurstfield, J., Willison, R., and Page, R. (2006). Barriers to employment for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in Britain (No. 360). Leeds: Corporate Document Services.Google Scholar
  35. Tanti, M. (2015). The labor of creativity in images of networking children. Television & New Media, 16(3), pp. 295–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. The English indices of deprivation. (2010). London: Department for Communities and Local Government.Google Scholar
  37. UCL Institute of Education. (2017). Education, skills and employment in East London: an ecosystem analysis. London: University College London.Google Scholar
  38. Understanding Society. (2011). Poverty: how does ethnicity matter? Understanding the role of ethnicity and gender in addressing poverty. Colchester: Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER).Google Scholar
  39. Van Ham, M., Mulder, C. H., and Hooimeijer, P. (2001). Local underemployment and the discouraged worker effect. Urban Studies, 38(10), pp. 1733–1751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wales, S. R. (2006). Mayor of Olympic borough says locals are too lazy to get jobs on project. Newham, London: Daily Mail. Retrieved from
  41. Watt, P. (2013). ‘It’s not for us’ Regeneration, the 2012 Olympics and the gentrification of East London. City 17(1), pp. 99–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wilson, F. D. (1999). Ethnic concentrations and labor-market opportunities. In: Immigration opportunity: race, ethnicity, employment in the United States. University of Wisconsin, pp. 106–140.Google Scholar
  43. Wood, M., Hales, J., Purdon, S., Sejersen, T., and Hayllar, O. (2009). A test for racial discrimination in recruitment practice in British cities. Norwich: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niloufar Vadiati
    • 1
  1. 1.HafenCity University HamburgHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations