Topic: Low-wage employer ‘hiring-queues’: the geographies of recruitment preference and prejudice across the global strawberry industry
Employers often have preferences and prejudices with respect to workers based on characteristics including geographical origins, gender, class, age, appearance, etc. These ‘hiring queues’ (Waldinger and Lichter, 2003) shape eventual recruitment decisions and explain why certain characteristics may be more or less common within a workplace and across a sector. Drawing on one rural industry known in particular for low-wage and highly seasonal employment – the strawberry industry – this paper examines and compares employer hiring queues in the UK, US and Norway. We find that although there is variety in the hierarchies (hiring queues) that employers construct in the different national contexts, geography is the decisive variable used to determine who are seen by employers as the best low-wage seasonal workers. The paper explores why geography matters in low-wage employers’ hiring decision-making.