Institute for Social Research (ISF)
Dr. Arnfinn H. Midtbøen
PO Box 3233 Elisenberg
N-0208 Oslo

Phone: +47 920 82 553

Pathways to Success Norway

Pathways to Success - Norway is part of the broader project ‘Pathways to Integration: The Second Generation in Education and Work in Norway’, in which an interdisciplinary team of sociologists, economists and anthropologists will use both quantitative and qualitative data to explore the dynamics of generational change. The project has four closely related subprojects.

First, drawing on administrative data, we will investigate whether the immigrant parents’ success or failure in the Norwegian labour market affect the labour market integration of the second generation. Second, also building on administrative data, we will study the extent to which descendants of immigrants’ efforts in the educational sector is transferred into relevant work, and how family obligations and transnational marriages affect employment patterns of second generation men and women. Third, we will explore whether an elite of descendants of immigrants is in the making, by conducting comprehensive qualitative case studies among students in medicine, law and economics, as well as among lawyers, doctors and economists that have managed to gain positions in the labour market. Fourth, also based on case studies, we will focus on descendants of immigrants enrolled in vocational education, following 1) those who invest in more education, 2) those that end up working in vocational professions, and 3) those who are tracked into less privileged positions or even into permanent positions outside the labour market.

It is the third subproject that constitutes ‘Pathways to Success – Norway’. We will conduct in-depth interviews with students in elite professions like medicine, law and economics, as well as with individuals who have graduate degrees from these fields who have managed to gain positions in the labour market relevant to their educational achievements. The main share of the interviewees will be descendants of the labour migrants arriving in Norway in the late 1960s and early 1970s, from countries like Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco. We will explore the ‘pathways to success’ that second generation men and women with elite educations have followed, focusing particularly on their career paths from education to work, their present aspirations, how they perceive their chances in advancing in the occupational hierarchy, and whether they view marriage and children as obstacles to or preconditions for success. We will also include a strategic comparison group consisting of individuals with ethnic majority background, enabling us to study whether descendants of immigrants choose other career paths and use other resources to gain influential positions, as well as exploring the extent to which they experience discrimination or harassment related to their ethnic background. In sum, 80-100 in-depth interviews will be conducted. The findings will be analyzed in close relation to the results of the analyses of administrative data. 

Research team: Dr. Arnfinn H. Midtbøen (project manager), Dr. Marjan Nadim, Dr. Julia Orupabo, Dr. Pål Schøne, Dr. Hilde Lidén, Dr. Marianne Røed, Dr. Ragni Hege Kitterød, Dr. Anna Godøy 

Duration: 2015-2018 

The research project ‘Pathways to Integration: The Second Generation in Education and Work in Norway’ will be executed by a research team from Institute for Social Research in Oslo. It is funded by The Research Council of Norway.