International Labor - WIU

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Introduction to International Labor Forces

Many labor forces, such as mobility of the work force, quality of work, quantity of workers, work stoppages, unions, education and bias in the workplace, exist both domestically and internationally. However, the degree to which they exist may differ from one country to the next. Moreover, the combination of forces existing in one country, such as labor quantity, quality and, mobility is synergistic, often directly resulting in the success or failure of a company. It is imperative to consider not only the individual forces at play within a country but the overall affect these forces will have on your company. These factors both individually and collectively must be considered in order to do business effectively in a country.


Labour mobility consists of changes in the location of workers both across physical space (geographic mobility) and across a set of jobs (occupational mobility). Geographic mobility can be further subdivided into short-distance and long-distance moves, as well as into voluntary and coerced migration.

Occupational mobility can be lateral (within a broad class of jobs similar in socioeconomic status) or vertical (from one job to a better or worse job) (Ferrie & Long, n.d.).

Labor mobility in its simplest terms involves the immigration and emigration of people from one country to another. Labor mobility occurs for the following five reasons, (1) to improve economic condition, (2) avoid persecution, (3) forcible immigration (such as slavery), (4) follow harvests or seasonal trends and, (5) reunite with families. This mobility irrespective of the reason changes the availability and demand for jobs, and affects the economy. Immigrants are classed as foreign, those who "are guest workers, transient and impermanent in their residence" (Ball, McCulloch, Frantz, Geringer, & Minor, 2006) and foreign-born, those whose move is permanent.

Foreign or guest-workers impact the...