Could you be a racist or have integrated racism in your system and not know it?

Brussels / Belgium / Europe is changing, the world is changing. As an organization, are you ready?

Having one brown employee, having one black friend, being a good person, branding yourself as a progressive institution is not enough… There is an extensive body of research (on local, national, european, international levels) showing that there is extraordinary racial disparity today operating in every aspect of life; employment, education, housing, media, wealth... The third socio-economic Monitoring (version 2017, 'Employment and Origin') shows that origin remains a determining factor to explain the inequalities on the job market. This report shows that for the same level of qualification, notable inequalities persist based on origin. Once again, the socio-economic Monitoring confirms that the struggle of the people of foreign origin (non-EU) on the job market is not as important in the other countries of the EU as in Belgium.

In December 2017, the King Baudouin Foundation published a research on people with a migrant background with African roots. With a population of 110,000 living in Belgium, Belgo-Congolese, Belgo-Rwandan and Belgo-Burundian people are the third largest group stemming from immigration from outside the European Union. This survey reveals that the unemployment rate among Afro-descendants is high: four times higher than the rate among (white) Belgians, even though 60% of them have a higher education degree. Almost eight out of ten respondents indicate that they have experienced discrimination, unequal treatment or abuse due to either the color of their skin or their origin. Discrimination makes it difficult to access housing and work, and it occurs both in educational establishments and in the workplace. Also, 56% of those questioned are doing a job that is below their level of education.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched its second EU Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II). They surveyed more than 25,500 people with an immigrant or ethnic minority background about experiences of discrimination, harassment and more. One in four in EU face discrimination. 38% of respondents have experienced discrimination and racism over the last 5 years. Skin colour or physical appearance is most frequently mentioned as a reason for discrimination at the workplace (53 %) and when looking for work (50 %).

As a company or industry, what is your strategy for making these numbers change 20 years from now?

When it comes to questions of race and racism, of privilege, of discrimination in the labour market, dialogue seems to be emotionally charged for many, making it hard to come together to tackle racial discrimination. Angela Glover Blackwell says about #Equity: "We have to understand that actions that we sometimes take for those who are the most vulnerable, actually will benefit everybody… When we solve problems for the most vulnerable, we solve problems for everybody... Inequality is hurting the country, the economy. Those who are left behind are the very ones who have always been left behind, the problem is they are becoming the majority and the country is going to be left behind."

  • Our program starts with a pilot in Brussels. We believe that it is not about "Us and Them". It is about "We".
  • Our focus is racial discrimination in the workplace and providing opportunities for #qualityjobs (via signposting, counselling, jobs shadowing and networking).
  • Our mission is to build a community bridging talented candidates and committed organizations searching to diversify their workforce and leadership.

We invite you to reach out for a straight-forward conversation, to exchange experiences, suggestions, questions and opportunities for collaboration.

Thank you.

Your free cheat sheet on the "business case for racial diversity" in corporate Belgium!