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Chapter 21: Highly Skilled International Labour Migration and World Cities: Expatriates, Executives and Entrepreneurs
21 Highly skilled international labour migration and world cities: expatriates, executives and entrepreneurs Jonathan V. Beaverstock INTRODUCTION Highly skilled international labour migration is a pre-eminent process for world city growth, competitiveness and network building (Friedmann, 1986; Beaverstock and Boardwell, 2000). The burgeoning economies of world cities have created unprecedented conditions for the demand of highly skilled labour in both private and public sector employment (Sassen, 2006). For individuals, world cities have become the ‘global elevators’ for career development and wealth creation (Beaverstock, 2002). Over the last three decades, the highly concentrated, geo-economic reach and connectedness of world city corporate economies, particularly in banking, finance and professional services, have created the demand conditions for a new breed of highly skilled, talented and mobile worker who is required to engage in transnational working practices within the firm and its client relationships (Beaverstock, 2007a; Jones, 2008). For employers and policy-makers, in the race to be highly competitive on a global stage, the requirement to attract and retain highly skilled, transnational experienced labour has never been so important in the global ‘war for talent’ (Faulconbridge et al., 2009). Highly skilled labour is the conduit through which capital is accumulated, networks built, connections made and cosmopolitanism reproduced through its embodied knowledge systems, social relations and spatialities of ‘cliquey-ness’. These workers are the ‘dominant managerial elites’ in the so-called third layer of the space of flows (Castells, 2000, p. 445). Following a brief discussion of the significance of highly skilled international labour migration and the firm...
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