CONCLUSIONS AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS
This is the first statistically based, quantitative study dealing with the AIs in Australia. Its main findings are that compared to UKDs and ADs, AIs in Australia are attaining relatively well academically and socio-economically. This finding contradicts previous research based on Indian and British experience. In the past the AIs have been consistently portrayed as poorly educated and socio-economically unsuccessful. A recent study conducted by Lobo (1994) in India continues this trend. One of the major weaknesses of these studies is that they relied only on interviewing key informants and general observation of the AI community. In the majority of the research studies the researcher was from a Western country and consequently imposed their Western value system and perspective on the AI situation in India.
9.2 Recapitulation of findings
In this section the findings of the investigation are examined by recapitulating and discussing the influence of the major variables used in the study. The findings of the quantitative chapter are discussed first followed by the findings of qualitative chapter. In the quantitative chapter three variables are discussed:
(1) Labour Force Participation Rates;
(2) Unemployment Rates;
(3) Hourly Income.
The AIs are compared to the UKDs and ADs, with reference to the three labour market indicators mentioned above. Further, effects of a number of educational, labour force experience and demographic variables are also explored.
In the qualitative section the emphasis is on exploring issues such as:
(1) The job ceiling for AIs;
(2) The effort optimism of AIs;
(3) The presence of a third world yardstick among the AIs;
(4) The attitudes of AIs toward education;
(5) The loss of caste markers and its effects on AIs;
(6) The effects of prejudice on AIs.
9.2.1 Participation Rates
In general, it was found that AIs in Australia have substantially higher labour force participation rates than the UKDs and ADs. There were some exceptions to this finding. In particular, those AIs with postgraduate, degree, diploma and foreign qualifications, tended to have lower participation rates than similarly qualified UKDs and ADs.
Most research dealing with immigrant groups in Australia, suggests that they have similar participation rates to the Australian born population (BLMR, 1986; Junankar and Pope, 1990). This finding was not true for the AIs. While Young (1992; 1995) has suggested that age standardised participation rates would lower immigrant rates, and Ackland and Williams (1992) have noted a drop in immigrant participation rates, the opposite appears to be true for the AIs. Compared to the UKDs and ADs the AIs have particularly high labour force participation rates.
Further, researchers have found that better educated immigrants and those with overseas qualifications often have lower participation rates than the Australian born (Stromback et al., 1992). This finding, with regard to the AIs, was supported in the present study and provides some preliminary evidence for the effects of overseas qualifications. It appears that Australian employers often devalue overseas qualifications.
In 1981 the AIs had lower unemployment rates than the UKDs and ADs, by 1991 they had the highest unemployment rates of the three groups. This finding goes against the suggestion that it is the less established groups that have higher unemployment rates (Castles et. al., 1988; Inglis and Stromback, 1986; Miller 1986b). In 1981 the AIs would have been a newly arrived group, but by 1991 they would have started to become established. Yet, it was during this period that their unemployment levels increased. One can only conjecture that Australian employers became more selective during the 1980s when assessing job applicants.
As with participation rates, those AIs with higher degrees and diplomas had substantially higher unemployment rates than similarly qualified UKDs and ADs. The most worrying feature was the particularly high unemployment rates for those AIs with overseas qualifications. These findings are similar to those made about other overseas groups living in Australia (Beggs and Chapman, 1988a; Iredale, 1987; 1988; Stromback et al. 1992; Jones, 1992a; 1992b; McAllister, 1986; Wooden and Robertson, 1989).
With regard to the issue of skin colour, where being Catholic represented being dark skinned and being Anglican represented being white skinned, the findings went partly against caste theory (Ogbu, 1978; 1991; Hughes and Hertel, 1988; Njeri, 1988). While caste theory suggests that the lighter skinned group will have lower unemployment levels, it was the darker group that had lower unemployment levels. A partial explanation for this is that the Catholics were better educated than the Anglicans. In general, higher levels of education lead to lower unemployment levels. This finding contrasts with the findings of researchers in the USA with regard to Afro's (Ogbu, 1978; 1991) and West Indians in the UK (Roberts et al. 1981) where higher levels of education often led to higher unemployment levels.
Returning to the effect of Australian education on unemployment, for AIs the higher the level of Australian education, the lower the levels of unemployment. This finding was similar to the results for the UKDs and ADs. In both their cases, the greater the number of years of Australian education the lower the unemployment levels (Iredale, 1987; Jones, 1992a; 1992b; Wooden and Robertson, 1989).
Increasing years of overseas education had the effect of increasing unemployment levels for AIs. This was the opposite to that for the UKDs and ADs, reinforcing the finding of other researchers that Australian employers do not view overseas education in a positive light (Beggs and Chapman, 1988a; 1988b; Iredale, 1987; 1988; Jones, 1992a; 1992b; Wooden and Robertson, 1989).
The effect of years of Australian work experience on predicted levels of AI unemployment was to reduce it. After seven years of Australian labour force experience AIs had lower unemployment levels than both the UKDs and the ADs, if all three groups were overseas born. It appears that the settlement process, as a result of emigrating, initially increases unemployment levels. But as immigrants develop local skills their unemployment levels start to drop (Inglis and Stromback, 1983; Castles et. al., 1988; Miller, 1986b).
For AIs with overseas work experience there was a small increase in unemployment levels over a 7 year period. This finding is consistent with most Australian research that overseas work experience is often not recognised in Australia (Iredale, 1987; 1988; Stromback et al. 1992; Jones, 1992a; 1992b).
With regard to the work of Ogbu (1978; 1991) the AIs in Australia appear to be a reasonably successful immigrant rather than caste group. Their overall levels of observed or actual unemployment are not much higher than that for UKDs, another immigrant group who could be expected to perform better than the AIs.
9.2.3 Hourly Earnings 1986 Data
The ABS produced hourly earnings figures for all AIs working at least 35 hours per week. These figures were then compared to the hourly earnings of UKDs and ADs drawn from the 1986 one percent sample. The findings indicated, that in general terms, the AIs in Australia were far from being a caste grouping. On average they earned the same as UKDs, $10.00hr, and more than the ADs, $9.00hr.
The AIs are better educated than the UKDs and ADs, in that they are more likely to have a degree or higher qualification. They are also more likely to be professional or para-professional compared to the UKDs and ADs. One area of concern with reference to the types of positions held by AIs is in the area of management. AIs are less likely to hold managerial positions compared to UKDs and ADs. It appears that a glass ceiling may be operating (Watson, 1995). Another possible explanation may simply be that since the AIs are a newly arrived group they have yet to gain the level of labour force experience necessary to gain managerial positions.
9.2.4 Hourly Earnings 1991 Data
In the section dealing with hourly earnings in the 1991 census, regression models were developed so as to hold constant for the effects of a number of variables on hourly income. When examining the issue of skin colour it became apparent that there was a substantial difference between Anglican AIs and Catholic AIs. This difference in hourly income between the Anglican and Catholic ADs was small in comparison to the Anglican and Catholic AIs. The contention that those members of the caste group that are most similar to the dominant grouping will be more positively rewarded was supported. This finding has some support from U.S research, where lighter skinned Afro's often do better than darker Afro's with regard to job success (Ogbu, 1978; 1991; Hughes and Hertel, 1988; Njeri, 1988). Admittedly, this was not found with the unemployment figures.
9.2.5 Hourly Income and Years of Australian Education
The AIs who had Australian education earned substantially more than the ADs with similar years of education. This finding went against most of the research which indicates that people from Asia earn less than similarly experienced and qualified ADs (Beggs and Chapman, 1988; Chiswick and Miller, 1987; Tran-Nam and Nevile, 1988). AIs began to earn less than UKDs after about 10 years of Australian education. Interestingly, AIs with AD human capital had lower hourly incomes than other AIs, with their natural human capital.
9.2.6 Hourly Income and Years of Overseas Education
AIs with overseas education had substantially lower earnings than UKDs and ADs with overseas education. This is further evidence that Asian education is, in general, not valued highly by Australian employers. When AI human capital was replaced with AD human capital, the earnings of AIs increased substantially. It appears that for immigrants from Asia, Australian education is a necessity if they are to earn well (Beggs and Chapman, 1988; Chapman and Iredale, 1990; Iredale, 1987; 1988; Jones, 1992a; 1992b; Stromback et al., 1992).
9.2.7 Hourly Income and Australian Labour Force Experience
AIs with Australian labour force experience did particularly well compared to both UKDs and ADs confirming the findings of many researchers (Jones, 1992a; 1992b; Stromback et al. 1992; Iredale, 1987; 1988). It was this set of findings more than any other that provided support for the view that AIs were not being discriminated against in the Australian work place. The UKDs while earning less than the AIs earned substantially more then the ADs. When the AIs had their human capital replaced by that of the ADs there was a small increase in hourly earnings. This finding was similar to that of other researchers such as Haig (1980).
9.2.8 Hourly Income and Overseas Labour Force Experience
AIs were better compensated for their overseas labour force experience than either the UKDs or the ADs. This finding was unexpected. Most research indicates that Asian labour force experience is not viewed in as favourable terms as UK labour force experience by Australian employers (Iredale, 1987; 1988; Stromback et al. 1992). Yet, it was the AIs who were earning the higher hourly incomes. Interestingly, when AI human capital was replaced with AD human capital, there was a substantial increase in hourly earnings for AIs. While AIs are getting better returns for their overseas labour force experience than UKDs and ADs, the indication is that their returns should be even higher.
9.2.9 Summary of quantitative analysis
In general terms Stromback et. al's. (1992: 61) pessimistic appraisal of the labour force situation for many immigrant groups in Australia as "dismal" is overstated with regard to the AIs. While AI unemployment levels may be slightly higher than that for UKDs and ADs a partial explanation for this may be due to their higher participation rates. However, there is little doubt that the unemployment rates for AIs has increased substantially between 1981 and 1991.
With regard to hourly income both the figures from the 1986 census and the 1991 census indicate that AIs are not disadvantaged relative to the UKDs and ADs. There was little indication of what has been termed "discriminatory underpayment (Lobo, 1988: 37)" or the "income gap (Jiobu, 1988: 202, 219; Ogbu, 1978: 174; Ransford, 1994: 74-75). This is a process where AIs with similar qualifications and experience to the ADs would have lower hourly incomes. The 1986 census figures, which included about 18,000 AIs, indicated that AIs on average had higher hourly incomes than ADs and similar hourly income as UKDs. The 1991 census figures indicated that AIs had substantially higher hourly incomes relative to the UKDs and ADs. These findings strongly suggest that the AIs are not a caste group in Australia.
9.3 The Qualitative analysis
In contrast to the quantitative section where a complex statistical approach was taken to the research problem, semi-structured interviews were conducted for the qualitative analysis. A number of AIs were interviewed with particular reference to their perceptions about the issues under study.
9.3.1 The job ceiling for AIs
AIs believed that, in Australia, there was no job ceiling to speak off. This perception contrasted with their belief that in India they would never be able to attain good jobs. One of the main indicators of caste status is that the members of the caste should believe that no matter what their educational qualifications and effort on the job, they would never be able to attain material success (Ogbu, 1978; 1991). The job ceiling and the resulting "truncated opportunity structure (Boykin, 1986: 72)" insures that there is a loss of "effort optimism (Shack, 1970; cited in Ogbu, 1991: 24)".
9.3.2 The effort optimism of AIs
Ogbu has cogently argued that the "job ceiling" has direct consequences on a caste's perceptions with regard to the utility of schooling. These perceptions may then manifest themselves as behavioural strategies such as a lack of interest or "effort optimism" in regard to academic and socio-economic attainment. Immigrant minorities on the other hand, voluntarily leave their original environment to enter a new socio-economic and human milieu. Immigrants are free from a history of depreciation over generations in the new social environment (Ogbu, 1978; 1991). Interviews with AIs cited in Chapter 8 indicated that many believed that the opportunity structure in Australia meant that they were much more likely to make an effort here.
9.3.3 The presence of a third world yardstick among the AIs
In the context of changes brought about by the migratory experience, immigrants develop a "dual frame of reference" (Suarez-Orozco, 1989: 97-101). They evaluate their current state of affairs and anticipate what they might achieve in the future relative to what they would have achieved in their country of origin (Suarez-Orozco, 1989: 87-101). In the case of the AIs the majority believe that they have better opportunities to get ahead than in their old homeland.
Lobo (1989) has described this immigrant perspective as having a "third world yardstick", where respondents would compare their material achievements in their adopted country with the material achievements of relatives and friends still in the country of origin. While AIs in Australia did not consciously compare themselves to their relative and friends in India, unconsciously that was what was happening. Further, both the first and second generations of AIs in Australia believed that they had opportunities to progress in Australia especially when compared to AIs in India.
9.3.4 The attitudes of AIs toward education
Lobo (1994: 120) in her study of the AIs in India states quite categorically that many AI students were "apathetic, disruptive [and] truanted". These AI students had little or no inclination to achieve at school. Part of the reason for this academic failure was due to the working class background of the AIs. But, the main reason was that the AI students' in India were failing to achieve competence in an Indian language. Without a good grasp of an Indian language an AI could not complete high school successfully. The AIs continued to view an Indian language as part of antagonistic frame of reference that challenges their group identity.
In India the maintenance of an European lifestyle required too many AIs to forgo higher education (Bhattacharya, 1978; Gaikwad, 1967; Gist, 1967b). If AIs were to go out and enjoy the company of other AIs they needed to get jobs to pay for their leisure time activities. For AIs in India these leisure activities were what could be termed an "ethnic marker" (Ogbu, 1987b: 330) that they needed to maintain to retain their identity (Maher, 1962; Varma, 1979). In a Westernised country such as Australia, the need to maintain these markers has receded. As a result, the AIs in Australia have developed positive attitudes toward education.
9.3.5 The loss of caste markers and its effect on AIs
With the arrival of AIs in Australia there was an immediate shedding of caste markers and caste status. Issues of language and lifestyle differences evaporated overnight. No longer would markers of identity inhibit AI academic attainment. The loss of caste markers led to both the first and second generation AI viewing themselves as having substantial opportunities in their new country.
9.3.6 The effects of prejudice on AIs
AIs in India believed that prejudice acted as a barrier to their achieving job success, first with the British (Anthony, 1969; Moore, 1986a; 1986b; Varma, 1979) and then with the Indians (Gaikwad, 1967; Gist and Wright, 1973: 123; Lobo, 1994). In Australia the AIs did not have to worry about the possibility of job discrimination. While Australia has had a long history of racism (Richmond and Rao, 1976) there is little evidence that this process is effecting the academic and job achievement of AIs in Australia.
9.3.7 Summary of qualitative analysis
The belief in a job ceiling is a primary indicator of caste status. AIs in India believed in a job ceiling. However, AIs in Australia, in general, do not. The findings of this study suggest that AIs in Australia do well in education and employment as a result of an increase in their effort optimism. Many immigrant groups consciously develop a dual frame of reference where they compare their performance in their new country to the performance of their relative in their country of origin. While the AIs apparently do not consciously compare themselves they possibly do so at an unconscious level.
AIs in Australia have a substantially more positive attitude toward education compared to AIs in India. Partly this is because of the need for AIs in India to maintain their English mother tongue in the face of overwhelming competition from Indian languages. Their need to maintain English as an ethnic marker is having a drastic impact on their Indian language skills and through this on their academic attainment. In Australia the AIs have little need to maintain their ethnic markers and further do not feel discriminated against. This has contributed to their progress in Australia.
9.4 Research Implications and Suggestions for Further Study
This study is an exploration of the AI situation in Australia, with particular emphasis on their academic and socio-economic attainment. As such it generates a number of research problems that deserve further inquiry. While it appears that in general, the AIs in Australia are doing well relative to the UKDs and ADs, there are some problem areas.
Firstly, there appear to be fewer AIs in management positions. Researchers need to explore reasons for why AIs are not being promoted into these senior positions. Secondly, the issue of higher AI unemployment needs to be explored. If AIs have higher unemployment levels than the ADs because they are a newly arrived group, then why did the AIs have lower unemployment levels than the ADs in 1981. Thirdly, the substantial difference in the hourly earnings of AIs with postgraduate qualifications and similarly qualified UKDs and ADs needs to be explored. While AIs have higher hourly incomes than ADs in almost every category, AIs with postgraduate qualifications earn less than similarly qualified UKDs and ADs.
A fourth area of interest would involve the differential integration of "white or Anglican" and "dark or Catholic" AIs into Australian society. There is evidence that the "white" AIs are doing better earnings wise, than the "dark" AIs. Whether this difference is due to the "dark" AIs having lower levels of human capital to begin with is unlikely since the latter appear to be better educated. This raises the possibility of discrimination against the darker AIs.
9.5 Concluding Note
The AIs have a long and varied history. The community has been through periods when it identified closely with Europeans and was mostly accepted by them. It has also been through periods when it has been virtually excluded from all European business and military organisations. Further, the community has always been divided by the issue of colour, with the light skinned AIs often passing as "domiciled Europeans", while the dark skinned identified as AIs.
The issue of passing continues on in Australia. Those organisations that describe themselves as being AI organisations, tend to be populated almost exclusively by dark skinned AIs. The general consensus is that the white skinned AIs are not interested in maintaining their AI identity. This situation makes it difficult for the researcher to gain a representative sample of both white and dark AIs.
This study is a benchmark. Researchers, conducting research dealing with the AIs in the future, now have quantitative findings to base their research on. Rather than discussing the AI situation in relatively general terms they can be more specific in the hypotheses they investigate. Research dealing with the AIs appears to entering a new phase.
Increasingly AIs are beginning to research their own history (Moore, 1986a; 1986b) and the present situation of AIs in Australia (Gilbert, in the present study), England (Lobo, 1988) and in India (Lobo, 1994). Further a journal dealing exclusively with AI research studies is being set up so as to provide researchers with an appropriate forum to discuss their work. Just as importantly an international reunion of AIs is organised every three years. Originally these reunions were just gatherings of AIs. Increasingly, they are starting to be concerned with issues such as those canvassed in the present study. Issues such as education, socio-economic attainment and poverty.