Young British Muslims held back by discrimination in the workplace, official report reveals

A new official report appears to suggest that young Muslims living in the UK are increasingly subjected to discrimination and unfair treatment when it comes to finding employment, and moving upwards in their careers.

The research, which comes from the Social Mobility Commission, suggests that Islamophobia is holding Muslim men and women back in the workplace, particularly when it comes to career progression.

The Government’s social mobility watchdog found that only six per cent of UK Muslims currently hold higher managerial and professional occupations, in comparison with ten per cent of Britain’s overall population.

A number of ‘barriers to success’ were identified in the report. For example, it revealed that young Muslims felt forced to work “ten times as hard” as their white counterparts in order to succeed in the workplace.

It also revealed that, during recruitment, many Muslims felt that interviewers were discriminating against those with ‘ethnic-sounding names’ – who they felt were less likely to be offered an interview in the first place.

Young Muslim women said that they were subjected to discrimination for wearing religious clothing such as headscarves, while both men and women said that their religion made them ‘targets’ for bullying and harassment at work.

Overall, the report found that only 19.8 per cent of Muslims aged 16 to 74 are currently in full-time employment, compared to a much higher 34.9 per cent of the overall population.

Alan Milburn, of the Social Mobility Commission, added: “The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded. Unfortunately, for many young Muslims in Britain today this promise is being broken.”

Study leader Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, from Sheffield Hallam University, added: “Muslims are excluded, discriminated against, or failed, at all stages of their transition from education to employment. Taken together, these contributory factors have profound implications for social mobility.”

The Social Mobility Commission is now calling on the Government, communities and employers to take action.

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a partner in the Employment team of Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. As an Employment Relations Specialist, she advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. She joined the firm in 2011 after training and qualifying at Vizards Wyeth Solicitors in London, where she practiced employment law and commercial litigation.