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Ethnic discrimination is rife in the world of employment in Ireland, report says

4 Jan 2019

Black Irish, black non-Irish and Asian Irish employees can experience greater levels of workplace discrimination than their white Irish counterparts, a new report compiled by the ESRI finds.

Black non-Irish workers are five times more likely to be discriminated against during the job search than their Irish peers. This, and other shocking statistics like it, was recently revealed in a report prepared for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The report, entitled Ethnicity and Nationality in the Irish Labour Market, also found that black non-Irish groups were 0.4 times less likely to be employed. Of those who are employed, they are 2.7 times more likely to experience discrimination.

Though black Irish groups show little difference to the majority white Irish population in terms of levels of employment, they share the occupation disadvantage seen with black non-Irish people. Both groups are considerably less likely (0.3 times) to hold a managerial or professional job than white Irish people.

Meanwhile, Asian Irish people do not differ from their white Irish counterparts in their experience of discrimination when seeking employment. In fact, Asian Irish people were reported to actually be at an advantage in terms of occupation as they are almost twice as likely to be working in professional and managerial occupations than white Irish people. However, they are also almost twice as likely to experience discrimination in the workplace than white Irish employees.

Ireland is expected to be examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 2019, making the report rather timely, as Frances McGinnity, an associate research professor at the ESRI and lead author of the report, pointed out. McGinnity continued: “The commission anticipates that the evidence presented in this report will be of assistance to policymakers in the course of that examination, and potential policy responses in the context of the State’s own migrant integration strategy.”

The report goes on to state that it is “crucial” that awareness of these discrepancies is promoted among both policymakers and employers “to prevent skills being underutilised”. It suggests that programmes be developed and disseminated to allow migrants to “acquire and develop skills relevant to the Irish labour market” such as English language programmes to complement efforts to ensure their qualifications are recognised.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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