Racial biases in recruitment by accounting firms: The case of international Chinese applicants in Australia

Kieran James, Setsuo Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper documents the difficulties in finding accounting work faced by international Chinese accounting graduates in Australia in the two years after graduation. We argue that Chinese accounting graduates remain a marginalised group within today's Australian society. The interview results support this assertion, with even high-achieving Chinese graduates finding it difficult to obtain work with mainstream accounting firms and corporations. The main reasons appear to be their lack of Australian working experience, lack of knowledge of Australian culture, and lack of 'Australian English'. Australian accounting firms, due to a revealed preference to hire white Australian graduates, appear to be missing out on a vast reservoir of Chinese talent. Chinese accounting graduates speak two or three languages and have established business networks in China or at the very least insider knowledge of how that country's business culture operates. Whilst their sub-cultural capital may be lower on average than white graduates on some conventional measures, it is higher in those areas of bilingual capability and cross-cultural knowledge which are becoming of increasing importance to Australian business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-491
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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