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Ethnic minority youngsters do face jobs discrimination: new report

Monday 17 December 2012

Youngsters from an ethnic minority background with the same cv, accent and clothing as their white peers are far less likely to find a job through an employment agency, according to new research for the social affairs ministry.

Once invited for an interview, the native Dutch person was offered the job on 44% of the occasions. Those with an ethnic minority background were offered the job 23% of the time, the research by the government's socio-cultural institute SCP showed.

The research was carried out using actors who made 460 visits to staffing agencies, all with virtually the same cv, who gave similar answers to standard questions and who spoke Dutch without an accent. They also wore similar clothes and had good manners.

Moroccan origins

Almost one in four youngsters with an ethnic minority background in the Netherlands are jobless, compared with 8% of white youths. They are also far more likely to have a temporary employment contract.

‘It is possible that discrimination against non-western youth explains their worse position on the jobs market,’ the SCP said.

The new research showed people of Turkish, Surinamese and Antillean origin were far less likely to be employed via a staffing agency than the native white Dutch. However, Dutch Moroccan actors were just as likely to be given a job as a native Dutch person.

The researchers told the Nos this may be because employers have such a negative image of people with Moroccan origins that the actors were seen in a more positive light than the other ethnic minority actors.


The research focused on young people aged 22 to 23. The difference in acceptance rate was less obvious for women than men. ‘Non-western women would appear to be viewed as more trustworthy and ambitious, while men are regarded as more threatening,’ the researchers said.

However, online applications by fictitious candidates did not result in any significant difference in the background of those invited for interview, the research showed.

Researcher Iris Andriessen told the Nos it is difficult to determine what lies behind the discrimination when personal contact is made. Earlier research has shown staffing agencies will admit to preferring to employ white people, or to excluding people from certain backgrounds.


A spokesman for temporary employment agency association ABU told news agency ANP efforts have been made to reduce discrimination and the number of cases has gone down by some 30%.

'We are making progress but every instance of discrimination is one too many,' spokesman Aart van der Gaag said.

Junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma on Monday urged people to continue to report jobs market discrimination to to the relevant bodies. It is 'unacceptable' and 'not sensible' to ignore potential talent, the minister said in a reaction to the report.

Share your experiences using the comment form below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

This is hardly surprising.

By the_expat | 17 December 2012 10:16 AM

What a positive difference this report can bring in the life of ethnic minority?

By Mehmood | 17 December 2012 11:04 AM

Such a typical social cliché, isn't it? Still no one isn't wondering how these minorities made their names. Being discriminate is the privilege of the local, it is the outsiders' efforts to earn their own reputation. As a Chinese KM working in the Netherlands for almost ten years, I say no man is judged by their name here.

By KDY | 17 December 2012 12:31 PM

What's wrong with that? The Netherlands are the hosts of many immigrants. They are then priorizing their own kind. That's good.

By Witte Piet | 17 December 2012 3:18 PM

I have been without a job in Holland for the last 4 years, I'm young, fit and want/can do many jobs, yet its always no for some reason.
Discrimination in this country is almost obvious, they just don't want to announce it.

By Makank | 17 December 2012 4:11 PM

shame . shame. shame.
these agencies names should be made public. employers should boycott services that are prejudiced else it reflects their values too.

By jedi | 17 December 2012 5:41 PM

WHY is that goood, Witte Piet? So you can smugly blame them when they can't get jobs?

Oh THAT makes sense.

By CW | 17 December 2012 5:43 PM

@KDY and @Witte Piet:

These aren't "outsiders". They are completely Dutch. But not white.

The reaction to them is purely racism.

By Valentijn | 17 December 2012 5:47 PM

This is not news and does not only confine itself to employment. The justice system treats ethnic minorities differently. Sentences passed on ethnic minorities are often harsher than those imposed on native Dutch people who commit the same crime.

By groverpm | 17 December 2012 6:37 PM

I've been searching for a job for almost 2 months, some proposed but never employed. With a polish background and no dutch language skills is simply same as impossible to get any kind of job ( ofcourse when the dutch is not required).

By Richard | 17 December 2012 7:12 PM

Discrimination in the EU (and The Netherlands) is a issue that is a major problem in all area's within the employment sector this is a problem even the governments do see it as a problem but nothing is being done, the problem is the companies requirements that drives this discrimination change the mind set of HR managers within companies that will help to solve at least some of the problem

By Albert | 17 December 2012 11:05 PM

As an employer I stopped using employment agencies for precisely this reason. I want quality staff - regardless of their background - not idiots. Many agencies over here are staffed by clueless morons who would only send me more clueless morons.

By Roy | 18 December 2012 9:22 AM

I dont understand this; with all these corruptions, thefts, killings mostly coming from immigrants - why does not the articles show case them? I am an immigrant and the country gave me a good job and porspects. I am educated and pay tax and everything. But i see other immigrants taking ill use of this. I see they spit everywhere, make gestures towards the locals, always fight, steals, etc etc. And even after doing all these to this great country which gave you shelter, you are saying the country is not doing enough? guys, then please go back to your own country, why coming here and making it a bad place.!!

By Supratip | 18 December 2012 9:47 AM

What Witte Piet doesn't get is that a lot of the people getting the jobs through the Dutch old boy network, are shall we say,
'competence challenged,' compared to us high-energy buitenlanders / allochtone.
This kind of second rate thinking is a downward pressure on your economy.

By Wendy Monroe | 18 December 2012 10:32 AM

I saw on the NL journal that this same 'research' had been done in 1986 - 26 years ago. The results now are almost exactly the same as they were 26 years ago. Virtually no progress has been made in this area in those 26 years. The reporter said however that 'some rules have been made' though. Oh how very Dutch, lets carry out survey after survey, all showing the same results, but then take no action to change things. And then after that - complain about it, of course.

By Z | 18 December 2012 10:48 AM

Witte Piet - thank you for spotlighting the real problem here in many instances in the Netherlands. There is a HUGE difference between 'prioritizing' as you so kindly put it, and discriminating against other human beings that should have exactly the same rights here as you do, if they have met all the countless 'requirements' that the Dutch have so kindly created for us foreigners. The real problem is that many Dutch people do not even understand what discrimination really is and why it is bad for developing a healthy interesting and varied society in a global sense. Until there is some real understanding from within Dutch culture nothing will change here in this area.

By Z | 18 December 2012 11:30 AM

The statement that Dutch just are "priorizing" their kind, is an attitude that will just make skilled foreigners leave. The foriegners that will stay are the ones with no skills, no options, and no future. The Netherlands society from the 1950's will never return, the foreigners are here to stay. Which type of foreigners would you like as your neighbor ? One who feels their is a future, or own who has given up, and angered by the obvious injustices faced by them in Dutch society.

By Kees | 18 December 2012 12:52 PM

Report does not say anything about what kind of occupations the actors had on their fictional CV. However, in engineering jobs, it is not possible to hide behind ethnic background when one does not get the job. Knowledge about the position is the focus.

By Lin | 18 December 2012 1:55 PM

What is really you problem Makank Because I know a lot of people from many different country,s and they all have a job and they having all colours and backgrounds also. Maybe you are not having the right papers for those jobs?

By Adrian | 18 December 2012 4:28 PM

Has a report been done on discrimination in hiring policies in ethnic minority owned businesses? From personal observation seems ethnic minority businesses might have a preference to hire folk from their own ethnicity.

By Grant | 18 December 2012 9:11 PM

I was sitting in the keet this morning (tue 18 Dec) drinking my coffee when the agency rep arrived, as we had some new guys starting.
My boss told the agency guy he did not want anyone from Romania or Bulgaria.
It may be down to the employers rather than the agencies.

By Donaugh | 18 December 2012 9:37 PM

@ Grant, It doesn't always work that way.
I'm Scottish & my maaatje is Dutch. When we started at our current employer (who's Turkish) he let two Turkish boys go. Since then he has given work to four more Dutch carpenters.

By Donaugh | 18 December 2012 9:45 PM

@Kees: Well said. And I'm one of those that left with my masters in physics (obtained in North America), never to return, because I couldn't find a job in over 18 months. When it's one job with 180 applicants, the chances of them picking a Canadian are next to nothing, even with my education. I was actually turned down for the last job I applied for because I was "too smart" and had more education than anyone else I'd be working with. Nice eh?

By Stupid | 18 December 2012 10:07 PM

@Adrian, I have a Dutch residence permit, speak almost perfect Dutch(+3 more languages), worked for 4 years when I first got here, then was fired because it didn't go well with the company. although I have been looking for a job since then, the unemployment gap started growing.
I didn't come here as an (Economy) asylum seeker, but family circumstances kept me here, I will be leaving this country soon and for good, can't wait, my years here have been wasted.
Holland is not a place for smart foreigners, you got to be stupid, needy and less in order to be accepted by Dutch people.

By Makank | 21 December 2012 9:06 AM

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