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Study confirms discrimination in Brussels jobs market

16:05 05/07/2019

A study carried out by the Brussels-Capital Region has confirmed what job-seekers and equal rights activists have been saying for a long time: Even with college and university diplomas, it’s difficult for young people with a migrant background to get a job in Brussels.

The study was carried out by the Brussels Observatory for Employment and Training, known as View.Brussels, and was based on 2015-16 figures from employment agency Actiris. “The structural inequality in the jobs market with respect to origin is significant,” said Khadija Sanhadi, who led the study.

The study shows that the unemployment rate among young people with any kind of African background is three times higher than their European-Belgian counterparts. This figure could be seen to a greater and lesser degree among groups with similar education backgrounds.

The difference was greatest, however, among young people who left secondary school without a diploma. One in three white people found a job within three years, while the figure for young people of African origin was one in five.

Geographical correlation

The gap is less pronounced among higher educated job-seekers, with 80% of white people finding a job in three years as opposed to 75% of the other group. One of the problems in this group is the lack of recognition of diplomas earned overseas.

In Brussels, it can take up to two years and costs €250 to get a diploma recognised, while in Flanders, notes the study, this happens within six months free of charge. “We can use this information to create more effective measures,” said Brussels’ outgoing labour minister Didier Gosuin (Défi).

The study also shows that women of foreign origin are more likely to be passed over for a job than their male counterparts. There is also a strong correlation between where people live and their ability to get a job.

The unemployment rate in what is referred to as the “poor sickle” – the areas of Brussels most affected by poverty, which can be mapped across several municipalities in the shape of a sickle – is 10% among young whites and 35% among those with non-European origins.

“Discrimination puts the brakes on economic growth and increases these divisions even further,” said Actiris general-director Grégor Chapelle.

Photo: Jonas Hamers/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



This is not just in Brussels but all over Belgium and in all non English speaking European countries. Education has no value these days. Moreover, there is language discrimination no matter how educated you are the only job you will find will be cleaning toilets or working in a factory standing in a line next to people who have never even been to school. I would recommend if you have your degrees in English language try moving to an English speaking country where you can at the least get a decent front desk job - saves you from cleaning toilets!

Jul 7, 2019 12:40
Frank Lee

Of course, we're not racists, but the people at our lunch table are all the same ethnicity, and while I have no problem with my colleague Ahmed, I'm locking my drawer while I leave my desk, because, you know... We're not racists, but we prefer if "those people" find employment in another department, another company, another part of town. We don't think of ourselves as racists because we're not loud skinheads with Celtic cross tattoos, but racism can be just as bad and violent coming from ordinary, quiet, well-respected citizens...

Jul 9, 2019 11:37

Sadly the truth. I can’t agree more with @awesome766
Racism in disguise ...smh

Jul 13, 2019 20:05

i have to say that i don't know if belgium is worse or better than anywhere else people tend to hold cultural biased views of others all over in my experience. Sadly most people aren't aware just how biased they Re A very educated Russian young lady I met told me how she struggled to find work as an English teacher outside Russia, despite holding many qualifications in this subject and believe me her grammar and accent were flawless, she said usually she could get work as domestic kind. However I did also hear a recent program in which someone talked about key words in women C.Vs being lacking and how well skilled women could be passed over by not having the right keywords prominent.

Jul 24, 2019 17:04