Discrimination in the Labor Market: Exposing Employment Barriers among Muslim Jobseekers in Australia

Terence Lovat, Pam Nilan, S. A. Hamed Hosseini, Ibtihal Samarayi, Michelle Mansfield, Wendy Alexander


This article reports the findings of a multi-method study to assess barriers to employment among Muslim jobseekers and the relative effectiveness of employment services designed to support them. In August 2010, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted with concern reports from Australia that highlighted ‘ongoing issues of discrimination and inequity … experienced by members of certain minority communities including African communities, people of Asian, Middle Eastern and Muslim background’ (United Nations, 2010: 3). For Muslims inAustralia, a point of concern is seen in unusually high unemployment rates, especially given the relatively strong qualification rates to be found in the Australian Muslim population. Using survey and interview data, we describe and interpret this phenomenon using both the jobseeker and service provider perspectives. We found Muslim jobseekers struggle to deal with structural obstacles such as inadequacy of services, as well as subjective misunderstandings and discriminatory behaviours. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/iss.v1i1.4374


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