We investigate how ethnicity, gender and other characteristics affect low-paid workers’ perceptions of their employability in London’s labour market, examining self-efficacy, ethnic and dual labour market theories. We find that perceptions vary considerably, both between genders and ethnicities and in the extent to which they are ‘justified’ by human capital attributes. Optimism varies between genders and ethnic groups but individuals’ perceptions vary to an even greater extent within genders and ethnic groups. Hence, individual-level ‘self-determination’ explanations of these perceptions appear to have greatest explanatory power in this specific context though ethnic theories also have utility.
Diversity dual labour market employability human capital labour economy