We adopt an organizational learning approach to examine how firms’ recruitment of high-skilled migrants contributes to subsequent firm-level innovation performance. We argue that due to migrants’ often different experience from that of native high-skilled workers, their perspectives on problem-solving and access to non-overlapping knowledge networks will also differ. The implied complementarity between these worker types makes migrant hires a particularly valuable resource in the context of firm-level innovation. We refine our diversity hypothesis further by predicting that migrant hires who add to the firm's cultural diversity should contribute more to firm innovation performance than new high-skilled migrant hires who do not add cultural diversity. Finally, we conjecture that firms with high integration capacity as a function of prior experience of employing high-skilled migrants should derive more innovation-related benefits from migrant hiring than firms with a low integration capacity. We track the inward mobility of high-skilled workers empirically using patents and matched employer-employee data for 16,241 Dutch firms over an 11-year period. We find support for our hypotheses.
- High-skilled migration
- Immigrant/firm cultural match
- Integration capacity