Ethnic minorities almost invisible in company leadership jobs

Just 1% to 2% of people in senior positions at Dutch companies come from an ethnic minority background, according to research by the Volkskrant on Friday.

The paper does not have concrete figures to base its conclusions on because companies are not allowed to register the ethnicity of their workers.

However, interviews with company officials from 34 large Dutch firms and recruitment agencies show that non-white immigrants are extremely unrepresented, the Volkskrant says.


People with an ethnic minority background account for almost 10% of the working population but just 2% of leadership functions. This is reduced to below 1% at senior corporate levels, according to recruitment company Right Management.

This is not due to out and out discrimination but the way personnel managers look for ‘classic leaders who instruct and delegate’, the spokesman said.

Melek Usta from recruitment agency Colorful People told the paper people with an ethnic minority background often let themselves down with the way they present themselves. In particular, more attention should be based on social and communication skills, starting in primary school, she said.

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