Strengthening inclusion of ethnic minorities in the European workplace

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Sustainable inclusive growth is a major opportunity for Europe. Inclusion is one of the topics I get the most questions about, and it’s also a topic I’m personally very excited about.

From a business perspective, many companies are facing an increasingly tight labour market, and asking how they can attract more talent. We decided to examine whether there was an opportunity for European companies to increase their numbers of ethnic minority employees to enhance their growth and that of the economy more broadly, while creating a much more inclusive workforce. The reason we looked at ethnic minorities was our initial finding that they comprise five to 12 percent of Europe’s population, depending on the country in question. So, it’s a substantial part of the European workforce.

When we then dug deeper into the experiences of these citizens, we discovered their unemployment rates are two times higher, they are three times more likely to be overqualified for their current jobs and are four times more likely to face workplace bias. That really paints an unfortunate picture of a significant population group within Europe that’s qualified but less likely to be employed because of prejudice, which represents an untapped talent opportunity for companies.

We also have to recognize we are not immune to this as a company, and I'm leading our program to accelerate ethnic minority inclusion in Europe. We have already published reports on the situation in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and are also publishing reports on Europe as a whole. If Europe can get this right, ethnic minority inclusion can contribute to sustainable inclusive growth.

This effort to boost inclusion in Europe’s workforce offers companies three specific benefits. One, it could address the talent gap many of them are facing. Two, these new employees could contribute to company growth. Three—and most importantly for me personally—besides addressing the lack of workplace inclusion, it could improve broader social coherence and help reduce inequality in Europe as a whole.

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