Quarter of ethnically-diverse Dutch experience labor market discrimination

Waiting for a job interview
Waiting for a job interviewPhoto: AllaSerebrina/DepositPhotos

24 percent of Dutch people with an ethnically-diverse background said they experienced discrimination on the labor market - they were rejected for a job based on their personal information instead of their qualifications, according to a study by employment agency Unique among 1,130 Dutch workers, AD reports.

More than a quarter of Dutch said that they have been turned down for a job based on their age, ethnicity or gender at least once. Of all applicants who have been rejected based on personal info, 24 percent have a diverse heritage. Among people with a Dutch-only cultural heritage, 12 percent have been rejected for a job based on personal data.

Ten percent of employees think that their employer discriminates based on personal info like age, gender or heritage. Age is the main reason for employers to reject someone, with nearly a quarter of employees saying their employer turned down applicants for being too old or too young. Place of residence and a foreign-sounding name on a person's CV are the main reasons not to invite someone for an interview, according to the respondents. 

Half of respondents said that they felt insecure after facing discrimination in the job hunting experience, and therefore tried to adjust their characteristics to have a better chance. Over a third indicated that they concealed or emphasized certain parts of themselves in subsequent job applications. 

These results aren't surprising, Diana Magielsen of Unique said to AD. "We have been researching discrimination on the labor market for three years now and these results are, unfortunately, comparable to those of a few years ago. That proves once again that it is good to keep putting this topic on the agenda, especially with what is going on in the world now," she said. "Nobody should be rejected for who they are."

According to Magielsen, many employers strive for diversity in the workplace, but they still find it difficult to remain unbiased. "I can say from experience that it happens unconsciously nine out of ten times." Unique regularly submits CVs anonymously, to show clients what happens when personal data like age and country of origin are omitted from a CV. "They often admit that they might not have hired something if they knew this in advance. I often hear: 'Damn, I really do this unconsciously'."