‘Muslim culture’ is routinely blamed for lower concentrations of employment – ​​but my analysis displays this is not what is at the rear of the problem


People who detect as minority ethnic are at a drawback in the labor marketplace in contrast to the British white the vast majority. They are a lot more probably to make significantly less, be outside of the labor pressure, develop into unemployed and stay unemployed for more time,

Exploration also exhibits that Muslims are worse off than any other religious team relative to white British Christians. Teachers refer to this reality as the “Muslim penalty”. Importantly, the Muslim penalty continues to be even soon after accounting for elements that are most likely to have an affect on work, this kind of as schooling, age, location of home, English language proficiency and overall health.

The ‘cultural norms’ argument

The existence of a Muslim penalty does not in and of itself indicate that discrimination is taking area. Some Therefore argue that so-termed “cultural norms” are at perform – that Muslims, and especially Muslim girls, are less most likely to be operating for the reason that the values ​​of their possess communities maintain them again. These purported norms incorporate a distinctive “taste for isolation” and a determination to “traditional gender roles”.

But investigating a ten years of data from the British isles Family Longitudinal Examine – one of the biggest surveys of its type, which gathers info on the socio-financial situation and cultural contexts from close to 100,000 individuals – I did not come across this watch to be supported by the proof.

What details counts in a CV?
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By using facts on people’s religious beliefs, membership in social organisations, and the extent to which they agreed with statements this kind of as “Husband really should gain, wife need to stay at home”, and “Family lifetime suffers if mom works full-time”, I was equipped to account for a selection of attitudes in my examine,

If “cultural norms” are genuinely so important then we would be expecting the Muslim penalty to be considerably reduced – if not entirely vanish – right after using them into account. Yet, modifying for this data did not lower Muslim males and women’s comparatively significant probability of being unemployed or inactive in any considerable way.

In other words and phrases, my research identified no association amongst so-named “socio-cultural attitudes” and the likelihood of Muslims currently being unemployed or inactive.

What then is driving the Muslim penalty? Survey investigation like mine cannot prove discrimination is at engage in, but my conclusions lend assistance to the frustrating proof from subject experiments that indicates discrimination is a major barrier to Muslims wanting for perform – even if it is not the only driver of these kinds of disparities.

A escalating overall body of proof

Findings from subject experiments – frequently taken as the gold typical for establishing irrespective of whether discrimination is at participate in – provide potent proof that discrimination in Britain contributes to differences in work results.

For example, a 2019 analyze analyzing employer actions towards Muslim position seekers throughout five European nations, which includes the United kingdom, identified higher stages of discrimination, 1 of the study’s findings was that Muslims who disclose their faith to employers practical experience a decrease callback rate, but Christians from the very same nation who disclose their religion do not.

This is persuasive evidence that the discrimination is targeted at Muslims, and is not an uneasiness with faith in a standard sense. An additional examine has proven that even in cosmopolitan London candidates with a Muslim name safe 3 moments much less career interviews when compared with individuals with Christian-sounding names,

Evidence of racist and prejudicial attitudes in Britain and the ongoing vilification of Muslims in the media lend further assistance to the discrimination thesis. Importantly, it’s not only the white the greater part who harbor anti-Muslim feelings. Research exhibits that Muslims are also “Singled out for special hostility from (…) other minorities”,

While subscribing to racist beliefs does not always translate into motion, suggesting that keeping such views doesn’t affect a person’s conduct, for case in point, in their selecting conclusions, indicates that employment is negotiated exterior the social setting in which it operates. This is not a plausible assumption.

When all the evidence is analyzed in mixture, it is hard not to see that discrimination performs an essential role in bringing about the Muslim penalty.

The repercussions of ignoring the details

The argument that Muslims’ “problematic norms” hold them back again appears to be a lot more of an ideological placement than one particular supported by evidence. It trivialises the actuality Muslims facial area in the world of get the job done and fails to admit the complexities of how casteism operates – which in turn delays efforts to enhance the circumstance.

Weak labor current market effects influence many aspects of a person’s daily life. Among the other items, they have an effect on what individuals can afford to pay for to consume, wherever they can afford to live, the instruction they and their children can obtain, as nicely as their physical and psychological wellness. Delaying function to tackle anti-Muslim discrimination in the British labor market place thus reinforces a range of inequalities that prolong perfectly over and above the environment of get the job done.

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