Less chances to get a job, lower wages, fewer career perspectives and harassment – discrimination in employment has many faces across Europe. According to a new report by the European Network against Racism (ENAR), ethnic or religious minorities are systematically disadvantaged in European countries. So called third-country nationals, Muslims, Roma, people of colour and especially women within those groups are more than just minorities: every eighth person in the EU belongs to one of those groups and suffers from various discrimination experiences in employment. The financial and economic crisis has increased the gap between migrants and the native population, i.e. harmed migrants disproportionally. By publishing 22 national reports as well as an overarching and summarising shadow report, ENAR wants to offer an alternative perspective to governmental or academic data on the issue and thus fill gaps in official reporting.
The latest report names several specific examples for different types of labour discrimination in EU-countries. In Spain, African migrants are twice as likely to be unemployed as people from the majority population. In the United Kingdom, people with foreign sounding names are a third less likely to be shortlisted for jobs than people with ‘white British’ sounding names. In France, applicants who live in socially disadvantaged areas face discrimination. In Italy, 34% of foreigners are employed as unskilled workers compared with 8% of the majority population. In Finland and Belgium, the unemployment rate of migrants is three times higher than unemployment within the native population. Unfortunately no positive exceptions of this pattern can be found in European countries.
To make things even worse ENAR does observe a lack of political will to tackle discrimination in employment. While EU legislation prohibits discrimination in employment, gaps remain with regard to national implementation and protection mechanisms. Politicians as well as the companies “should realise that discriminating and excluding individuals from jobs results in a huge waste of talent and skills, of human and financial resources, and ultimately affects progress and the well-being of all people living in Europe”, ENAR’s chair Sarah Isal said in a statement. In order to improve the situation ENAR provides recommendations to employers, civil society organisations and national governments among others. Companies should develop clear-cut internal policies, run process audits and monitor outcomes. “Companies must realise that ethnic minorities add similar value as their recognised international talent. In a next step, they need to understand which parts of their culture should change in order to accommodate more diversity”, adds Diversity pioneer Michael Stuber.