Labour recruitment practices and its
class implications: comparing workers in
Singapore’s segmented labour market

by Junjia Ye

Working Papers WP 13-14
October 2013
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

This paper contributes to the literature on labour migration by considering the class commonalities and differences as refracted through gender that are embedded within recruitment practices of different workers. Recent writings on the recruitment of labour migrants often distinguish between low-waged and middle-income workers without clearly addressing the linkages between recruitment practices of both. By adopting a comparative framework between Bangladeshi male migrants and transnational financial professionals, I draw out the varied configurations of gender and class that are deployed in recruitment processes that contour the existing division of labour in Singapore. For both groups of workers, their access to work is conditioned not only by technical skills but by their social and cultural capital as well. Through the analyses of the mesogeography of labour assembly, recruitment methods become crucial channels the realms of economic production and social reproduction are intertwined. This accounts for the segmented social space that is the labour market by demonstrating that recruitment processes are themselves embedded with specific class intersections as deployed through varied gender constructions.

Junjia Ye is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Urban Geography with The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic as part of the GLOBALDIVERCITIES project. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute at NUS. She received my PhD in Geography at The University Of British Columbia in 2011 with her dissertation entitled Class in the Global Labour Force: The Case of Singapore’s Division of Labour. Her research addresses themes of social inequalities and exclusion as well as everyday encounters and co-existence within a context of transnational urban processes.