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Study confirms discrimination in Brussels jobs market
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.
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