Perceptions of Third Country Migrants About Secondary Labor Market Concentration. A Case of Call Center Jobs in Romania



dual labor market, secondary labor market, migration, call centers, social stratification


This article sets to investigate the perceptions of migrants about call center labor in Romania. Narrative evidence was gathered from six oral history interviews conducted between June 2021 and January 2022 with third country nationals who lived in Romania. All of them had call center labor experiences in this country. Narrative research is employed in order to analyze and interpret the lived experiences recalled by the migrants. Results show that the lack of destination language skills, of sufficient professional experience and the unrecognition of home society qualifications are among the most encountered ideas which migrants believe restrict their access onto the primary labor market and force them into the secondary market. Deskilling is also common among migrants, who accept secondary labor market jobs, below their qualifications, because of migrant-related status reasons that impede their access onto the primary labor market. Nonetheless, high attrition rates specific to call center businesses can be regarded as an advantage for migrants, allowing them ease of access and exit onto and from the secondary labor market.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Vlad I. Roșca, Bucharest University of Economic Studies

Faculty of Business Administration in Foreign Languages
Address: Victor Slavescu Building 2-2a Calea Grivitei St., District 1, Bucharest, Romania.


Abdullateef, Aliyu Olayemi, Sany Sanuri Mohd Mokhtar, and Rushami Zien Yusof. 2010. “The impact of CRM dimensions on call center performance.” IJCSNS International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security 10 (12): 184−94.

Baglioni, Elena. 2022. “The making of cheap labour across production and reproduction: control and resistance in the Senegalese horticultural Value Chain.” Work, Employment and Society 36 (3): 445−64.

Bahna, Miloslav, and Martina Sekulová. 2016. “Leaving Care Work: Career Prospects in a Secondary Labor Market.” In Crossborder Care, edited by Miloslav Bahna and Martina Sekulová, 119−133. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bauder, Harald. 2006. Labor movement: How migration regulates labor markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Białobłocki, Krzysztof. 2021. “Migration and Migration Processes in Theoretical and Methodological Context: Methods and Theories of Definition and Approaches to Research.” Wyższej Szkoły Gospodarki Krajowej w Kutnie. Wydział Studiów Europejskich (16): 54−68.

Beardsell, Julie. 2009. “Managing Culture as Critical Success Factor in Outsourcing”. SMC Working Paper Series 9.

Bolton, Kingsley. 2013. “World Englishes and international call centres.” World Englishes 32 (4): 495−502.

Briggs, Vernon M. 1993. “Immigrant labor and the issue of "dirty work" in advanced industrial societies.” Population and Environment 14 (6): 503−14.

Brophy, Enda. 2010. “The subterranean stream: Communicative capitalism and call centre labour.” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 10 (3/4): 470−83.

Bruinekool, Matt. 2013. “Assessing Sector-Based Career Advancement: Satisfaction Surveys and Secondary Data.” Journal of Rehabilitation Administration 37 (2): 89−96.

Buzdugan, Raluca, and Shiva S. Halli. 2009. “Labor market experiences of Canadian immigrants with focus on foreign education and experience.” International Migration Review 43 (2): 366−86.

Chang, Andy Scott (2021). “Selling a resume and buying a job: Stratification of gender and occupation by states and brokers in international migration from Indonesia.” Social Problems 68 (4): 903−24.

Dadabaev, Timur, Shigeto Sonoda, and Jasur Soipov. 2021. “A guest for a day? An analysis of Uzbek ‘language migration’into the Japanese educational and labour markets.” Central Asian Survey 40 (3): 438−66.

Dai, Tao, and Junxiang Li. 2015. “Staff scheduling in call center considering global service quality.” 12th International Conference on Service Systems and Service Management (ICSSSM): 1−4.

Dale, Angela M. 1987. “Labor market structure in the United Kingdom: evidence from occupational mobility.” Work and Occupations 14 (4): 558−590.

Dickens, William, and Kevin Lang. 1985. “Testing dual labor market theory: a reconsideration of the evidence.” Working Paper No. 1670. National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, July 1985. Accessed September 2, 2022.

Peter Doeringer, and Michael J. Piore. 1971. Internal labor markets and manpower analysis. Lexington, MA: DC Heath.

European Commission. n.d. “Governance of migrant integration in Romania”. Accessed August 20, 2022.

Fine, Janice, Ruth Milkman, Natasha Iskander, and Roger Waldinger. 2016. “Celebrating the enduring contribution of birds of passage: Migrant labor and industrial societies.” ILR Review 69 (3): 774−82.

Haouari, Mohamed, and Karima Laassri. 2020. “Les migrants subsahariens au Maroc entre insertion professionnelle et representations sociales”. In Les migrations, la traite des personnes et les vulnérabilités transfrontalières, edited by Pilar Cruz Zúñiga and Nuria Cordero Ramos, 36−50, Madrid: Editorial Dykinson, S.L.

Heinz, Walter R. 1987. “The transition from school to work in crisis: Coping with threatening unemployment.” Journal of Adolescent Research 2 (2): 127−11.

Hingst, Raymond D., and Kevin B. Lowe. 2008. “Taylorism, targets, technology and teams-compatible concepts? Evidence from a US call centre.” International Review of Business Research Papers 4 (5): 157−65.

Hodson, Randy, and Robert L. Kaufman. 1982. “Economic dualism: A critical review.” American Sociological Review 47 (6): 727−39.

Ishtiyaque, Mohd, and Ranjana Gera. 2014. “Economic and Social Implications of Sustainability of Call Centre Jobs in India.” Journal of Urban and Regional Studies 1 (1): 1−7.

Jentjens, Sabine. (2021). “Je ne parle pas français—So what? The impact of language on skilled German migrant women’s employment in France.” International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 21 (1): 71−93.

Kats, Rachel. 1982. “The immigrant woman: Double cost or relative improvement?” International Migration Review 16 (3) 661−77.

Kim, Jun Woo, and Sang Chan Park. 2007. “Flexible Workforce Management System for Call Center: A case study of public sector.” Asia Pacific Management Review 12 (6): 338−46.

Livne, Sharon, and Margalit Bejarano. 2021. “‘It’s Important to hear a Human Voice,’ Jews under COVID-19: An Oral History Project.” Contemporary Jewry 41 (1): 185−206.

Michel, Lutz P. 2001. “Call centres in Germany: employment market and qualification requirements.” Economic and Industrial Democracy 22 (1): 143−53.

Mustosmäki, Armi, Timo Anttila, and Tomi Oinas. 2013. “Engaged or not? A comparative study on factors inducing work engagement in call center and service sector work.” Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 3 (1): 49−67.

Padilla-Vega, Rafael E., Cynthia Iris Sénquiz-Díaz, and Angel Ojeda-Castro. 2020. “Workforce planning and management FIT in call centers.” Strategic HR Review 19 (1): 37−40.

Putnam, Carol, Anne Fenety, and Charlotte Loppie. 2000. “Who's on the Line?: Women in Call Centres Talk about Their Work and Its Impact on Their Health and Well-being.” Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health 1: 1−10.

Ripamonti, Silvio Carlo, and Laura Galuppo. 2016. “Work transformation following the implementation of an ERP system: An activity-theoretical perspective.” Journal of Workplace Learning 28 (4): 206−23.

Rodkey, Evin. 2016. “Disposable labor, repurposed: Outsourcing deportees in the call center industry.” Anthropology of Work Review 37 (1): 34−43.

Sallaz, Jeffrey J. 2019. Lives on the Line: How the Philippines Became the World's Call Center Capital. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sato, Hidenori. 2018. “Are call centers sweatshops?.” Annals of Business Administrative Science 17 (5): 193−202.

Seckin, Ebru. 2008. “Call Centers and Economic Development in Less Developed Regions in Turkey”. 48th Congress of the European Regional Science Association “Culture, Cohesion and Competitiveness: Regional Perspectives”, 27−31 August 2008, Liverpool, UK: 27−31.

Șerban, Monica. 2014. “Defining migration policies from origin country perspective.” Journal of Community Positive Practices 14 (3): 65−78.

Șerban, Monica. 2015. “Migration policies from origin perspective in the case of Romania. Testing a definition.” Journal of Community Positive Practices 15 (1): 72−93.

Sieben, Inge, and Andries De Grip. 2004. “Training and expectations on job mobility in the call centres sector.” Journal of European Industrial Training 28 (2/3/4): 257−71.

Sinha, Shuchi, and Yiannis Gabriel. 2016. “Call centre work: Taylorism with a facelift.” In Re-Tayloring Management: Scientific Management a Century On, edited by Leonard Holmes and Christina Evans, 87−104, London: Routledge.

Ünlütürk-Ulutaş, Çağla, and Sezgi Akbaş. 2020. “The most invisible of the invisibles: Skilled syrian women in the turkish labor market.” In Women, Migration and Asylum in Turkey, edited by Williams, Lucy, Emel Coşkun, and Selmin Kaşka, 193−212: Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Van Jaarsveld, Danielle, Andries De Grip, and Inge Sieben. 2009. “Industrial relations and labour market segmentation in Dutch call centres.” European Journal of Industrial Relations 15 (4): 417−35.

Van Zeeland, Ine, Wendy Van den Broeck, Michelle Boonen, and Stephanie Tintel. 2021. “Effects of digital mediation and familiarity in online video interviews between peers.” Methodological Innovations 14 (3): 20597991211060743.

Wang, Chia-Hung, and Mao-Hsiung Hung. 2016. “Simulation model and optimal design for call center staffing problems.” International Conference on Genetic and Evolutionary Computing. Cham: Springer: 103−10.

Wilson, Kenneth L., and Alejandro Portes. 1980. “Immigrant enclaves: An analysis of the labor market experiences of Cubans in Miami.” American Journal of Sociology 86 (2): 295−319.

Woydack, Johanna. 2019. “Language management and language work in a multilingual call center: An ethnographic case study.” Revista Internacional de Organizaciones 23: 79−105.

Zhang, Weiguo, and Gilles Grenier. 2013. “How can language be linked to economics?: A survey of two strands of research.” Language Problems and Language Planning 37 (3): 203−26.



How to Cite

Roșca, V. I. (2022). Perceptions of Third Country Migrants About Secondary Labor Market Concentration. A Case of Call Center Jobs in Romania. Calitatea Vieții, 33(3), 1–17.