Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 2 2004, page 71-87.
English resume

Ethnic minorities and labour market segregation

A comparative study of integration barriers within three sectors in three countries

Mikkel Mailand

Based on findings from a comparative study of labour market segregation and integration barriers for women and ethnic minorities, the article analyses horizontal labour market segregation for ethnic minorities in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. The article focuses on three sectors (construction, health and IT-software). Special attention is given to one occupation within each sector (carpenter, software engineer and nurse, respectively).

Ethnic minorities are under-represented in the construction sector in all three countries as well among the nurses in Denmark and the Netherlands, but they are over-represented among the nurses and the software engineers in the UK. The share of ethnic minorities among the Danish and Dutch software engineers are equal to their average representation among the employees in the overall labour market.

It is argued that norms and values among the ethnic minorities, as well as different features of school-based and apprenticeship-based education are parts of the explanation for their under-representation among graduates in some of the occupations in focus. Informal/network-based recruitment strategies of the firms also help to explain the under-representation of the ethnic minorities found in some sectors. Also other features, such as direct and indirect discrimination and language skills, have an impact, but these were studied in details in the research project.

There are only a few indications that the type of wage system has any significant effect on the integration of ethnic minorities. Further, it is in the article not confirmed that the degree of employment protection effects the integration of the ethnic minorities. Finally, use of active labour programmes and firm-based equal opportunity initiatives are not widespread in the sectors in focus and do not seem to have more than a marginal effect.

Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)




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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt