Ethnicity and Nationality in the Irish Labour Market

  • Black Africans have the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest rate of employment; this group also reports the highest rates of discrimination both in the workplace and when looking for work.

    According to a report published today (Wednesday 16th January) by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Equality Authority, immigrants did not fare as well on average as Irish nationals in the Irish labour market in 2010, with the results varying according to nationality and ethnicity.

    The research shows that Black African, Ethnic Minority EU and EU New Member State (NMS) groups fare worse than other national-ethnic groups in terms of both objective labour market outcomes (e.g. employment and unemployment) and in their experience of discrimination.

    The results are based on new analysis of the Central Statistic Office’s 2010 Quarterly National Household Survey Equality Module. The report also utilised data from the Equality Module collected in 2004 to compare the experiences of immigrants during the boom with those during the recession.

    Other key findings of the study are:

    Labour Market Outcomes 2010:

    • In 2010, Black Africans and Ethnic Minority EU individuals had much lower labour force participation rates than Asians and White individuals from the EU countries. The labour force participation rate for Asians and White EU individuals ranged between 72 per cent (Irish and UK) and 86 per cent (NMS) compared to only 60 per cent for Black Africans and 65 per cent for Ethnic Minority EU individuals.
    • Employment rates were also lower among Black African and Ethnic Minority EU individuals, 38 per cent and 51 per cent respectively compared to an average employment rate of 61 per cent for the sample population.
    • Black Africans recorded the highest unemployment rate (36 per cent), and were four times more likely to be unemployed than White Irish individuals.
    • White individuals from the ‘old’ EU-13 Member States recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 9 per cent, followed by Asians at 12 per cent.
    • Compared to White Irish Individuals, Black Africans and White EU NMS individuals were less likely to be high earners.
    • Black Africans, Asians, Ethnic Minority EU, and White individuals from the UK and the 12 EU NMS were also less likely than White Irish nationals to work in professional and managerial occupations.

    Experience of Work Based Discrimination 2010:

    • In 2010, approximately 5 per cent of White Irish nationals reported having experienced discrimination while looking for work. A similar proportion reported discrimination in the workplace over the previous two years.
    • All national-ethnic groups, apart from White UK and White EU-13 individuals, reported substantially higher rates of discrimination in the workplace than White Irish.
    • Black Africans are almost seven times more likely to report experiencing discrimination in the workplace, and seven times more likely to report having experienced discrimination when looking for work.
    • The study found that migrants who arrived in Ireland during the recession (i.e. in or after 2008) were found to be more likely to report experiencing discrimination when looking for work than those who had arrived during the boom.
    • Ethnic Minority EU individuals are four times more likely to report experiencing discrimination while looking for work than White Irish nationals.
    • People in the EU NMS group are twice as likely to report experiencing discrimination in the workplace than White Irish nationals.

    Change over time: 2004 and 2010

    • Despite a significant increase in overall unemployment since the 2004 Equality Module was conducted, the study found no change over time in the relative risk of unemployment between White Irish nationals and the other national-ethnic groups.
    • Compared with 2004, Black African individuals were more likely to be employed in 2010. While this result suggests a slight improvement for Black Africans over time, they were still less likely than White Irish individuals to be in employment in 2010.
    • The White Non-EU group were found to be less likely to report experiencing discrimination when looking for work in 2010.

    Renee Dempsey CEO of the Equality Authority said: “This report shows that immigrants do not fare as well as Irish nationals in the Irish labour market. Clearly there needs to be a renewed focus on promoting equality for immigrants and for minority ethnic groups in the labour market and throughout society.”

  • Notes for Editors:

    1. Ethnicity and Nationality in the Irish Labour Market: Evidence from the Equality Module 2010 by Gillian Kingston, Philip J. O’Connell and Elish Kelly (ESRI), will be published online on the ESRI website at www.esri.ie, and The Equality Authority website at www.equality.ie at 00:01 a.m. Wednesday 16th January.
    2. The embargo is 00:01 a.m. Wednesday 16th January.
    3. Members of the Media are invited to attend a media briefing at 11 am Tuesday 15th January at the ESRI.
    4. The results are based on new analysis of the Central Statistic Office’s Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS): Equality Module 2010, which contained a dedicated series of questions about experiences of discrimination. The module also collected data on ethnicity not usually included in the standard QNHS, which allowed for the analysis of experiences and outcomes of eight national-ethnic groups. While the QNHS ethnicity question included ‘Irish Traveller’ as a response category, the data made available for analysis did not allow separate identification of Travellers.
    5. This study was commissioned by The Equality Authority and is one of three reports based on analysis of the Equality Module2010.
    6. The study is jointly published by The Equality Authority and the Economic and Social Research Institute, and is supported by the European Union’s PROGRESS Programme (2007-2013). The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and are not attributable to the Equality Authority, the ESRI or the European Commission.

    Ends

    The Equality Authority. 2 Clonmel Street, Dublin 2. Telephone: +353 1 4173336 Fax +353 1 4173331;
    Birchgrove House, Roscrea, Co.Tipperary. Telephone: +353 505 24126 Fax: +353 505 22388;
    email: info@equality.ie ; web site: www.equality.ie .

    The Equality Authority is a State Agency which is mandated to promote equality and eliminate discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of goods and services, accommodation and education. The Equality Authority is currently merging with the Irish Human Rights Commission to form the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

    The Economic and Social Research Institute, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Tel: +353 1 8632000; Fax: +353 1 8632100; Email: admin@esri.ie; If you would like to receive our monthly eNewsletter with news of ESRI activities and publications, please subscribe on our website . Follow us

    The ESRI is an independent research institute governed by a Council. The Institute does not take policy positions and the views expressed in ESRI publications are those of the authors. All ESRI reports are peer-reviewed prior to publication.

  • Facebook Share Icon
  • Twitter Share Icon