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Black non-Irish people five times more likely to experience discrimination seeking work in Ireland

This group is also over two and a half times more likely to experience discrimination when in employment when compared to white Irish people.

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File photo
Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

BLACK NON-IRISH people are five times more likely to experience discrimination when seeking employment in Ireland when compared to white Irish people.

Black non-Irish people are also over two and a half times more likely to experience discrimination when in employment when compared to white Irish people, new research has found.

A study entitled Ethnicity and Nationality in the Irish Labour Market looks at Central Statistics Office data from the Quarterly National Household Survey Equality Modules from 2004, 2010 and 2014 to capture how labour market outcomes and the experience of discrimination have changed through the economic boom, recession and early recovery.

The research, published by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute, examines the experience of immigrants and minority ethnic groups in the Irish labour market across four measures: employment rates; occupation; discrimination when seeking work and discrimination in the workplace.

Some of the key findings include:

  • People from the Black non-Irish group are less than half (0.4 times) as likely to be employed than the White Irish group and five times as likely to experience discrimination when seeking work
  • People from the Black Irish group are twice as likely to experience discrimination seeking work and just under three and a half times (3.4 times) as likely to experience discrimination in the workplace as White Irish
  • Both the Black Non-Irish and Black Irish groups are much less likely to hold a managerial or professional job
  • The White EU-East nationals group are much less likely to hold a managerial or professional job but show no difference in their rates of employment
  • The Asian Irish group of people do not differ in terms of employment rates and are more likely to be working in professional/managerial occupations, but are almost twice (1.9 times) as likely to experience workplace discrimination
  • Overall it seems that the disadvantage experienced by some groups in relation to securing employment in top jobs (managerial/professional level) appears to be narrowing over the period since 2004

The report’s author suggest that, on foot of the findings, future labour market policies “should consider the significant variation found in outcomes of ethnic groups”.

Recognising foreign education qualifications may account for some difficulties faced by non-Irish nationals. It is important that awareness of recognition of skills and qualifications attained abroad is promoted among both immigrants and employers to prevent skills being underutilised and enable job mobility.

“Raising awareness and the provision of information about equality legislation to immigrant and resident communities and the supports available is identified as an important mechanism to prevent discrimination,” the authors note. 

Diversity in the workplace 

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said access to and use of good quality data and empirical research are “of crucial importance in identifying the barriers to the full enjoyment of human rights and equality that persist in our society, as well as the people whom these barriers most affect”.

With a continuously improving jobs market and increases in immigration flows to Ireland, it is important to ensure that people resident in Ireland are afforded equal employment opportunities and integrated into the labour market.

“The much higher rates of labour market discrimination experienced by some ethnic groups highlights the need for employers to proactively work to ensure diversity in the workplace and to avoid incidences of discrimination in recruitment.”

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Órla Ryan

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