Is discrimination an issue? Young immigrants in labour market in seven European countries.

EUMARGIN’s third policy brief looks at discrimination as a factor of exclusion of young adult immigrants in labour markets in seven European countries: Estonia, Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom and Norway. Several observations emerge from the analysis. First, unemployment rates are high for young people in all seven countries, however, for immigrant youth, they are even higher. Unemployment is especially high for so called visible minorities such as Magrebians in France; Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi in Britain; Sub-Saharan Africans in Spain and Italy; and non-European minorities in Sweden and Norway. Second, although the situation improves for second-generation immigrant youth, their labour market access still lags behind of that of nationals of given country. Second generation immigrant youth also fare worse in competition for higher-level occupational positions. However, in some countries, namely UK and Sweden, once in the market, second generation immigrants’ occupational attainment more often than not is in par with nationals. Third, while there may be various sources of ethnic discrepancies in labour market for first generation immigrants such as low portability of human capital (or as is the case for language for most countries) and lack of social networks. However, it is more difficult to explain why second generation immigrant youth still face these disadvantages. Through analysing second generation immigrant youth’s performance in the labour market we thus approach the question whether there is employer discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin in countries under study.

Based on these arguments a set of general recommendations can be made. First, governments in all seven countries need to improve monitoring discrimination by employers through field experiments and annual surveys. Second, anti-discrimination policy framework that is already in place needs to be made more visible to immigrant youth together with increasing the awareness about their rights. And last but not least, EU should encourage benchmarking and best practice exchange among national agents in the field of labour market discrimination with special focus on second generation young immigrants.