Immigrants less likely to find jobs because of racial prejudices


Sydney : Recruitment consultants are likely to nix prospects of immigrants on account of their skin colour, accents, ethnicity and qualifications, much less find them jobs, according to a new study.

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Researchers found that only a small number had found jobs that matched their qualifications and many remained jobless or had accepted unskilled work.

The barriers to finding employment were language skills, accent, ethnicity, skin colour, prejudice, lack of cultural understanding and a lack of helpful support from recruitment and government agencies.

The study was carried out by two Wellington-based researchers in Massey University College of Business, Jacqui Campbell, lecturer in human resource management and her colleague, Mingsheng Li, senior lecturer in communication.

Their study also raised the question of whether recruitment consultants are friend or foe to professional immigrants, after many of the immigrant group reported having difficulty getting recruitment consultants to refer them for job interviews.

The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with 23 immigrants, five recruitment consultants and two immigrant settlement agencies. All of the immigrant group had bachelors degrees and 50 percent had postgraduate qualifications. They came from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Occupations held in their countries of origin included accountant, manager, diplomat, economist, journalist, judge, lawyer, marketing director, psychologist and school teacher.

They put their struggle to find work down to what Campbell describes as the “conservative attitudes” when it comes to employing people from different countries and cultures, said a Massey release.

“Being underemployed or unemployed has taken its toll on these people leading to loss of income, self esteem and confidence. Three marriages broke down,” she said.