A House of Commons report has revealed that Muslim unemployment is the highest of all the ethnic and religious groups in the UK.
The report by the Women and Equalities Committee, found that the average unemployment figure is 5.4%, but the figure among Muslims is 12.8%.
The Employment Opportunities for Muslims in the UK report, recommends that the Government should look at introducing a strategy that is focused on helping specific Muslims find employment. The Government has already said that one of its commitments is to tackle the disadvantages black and minority ethnic (BME) people face in the UK.
The report argues that the Government should be trying to directly tackle discrimination and work and be doing more to support and encourage people into finding work. The report recommended that there should be measures in place to make sure employers understand what constitutes illegal discrimination.
It also suggested that to overcome the high levels of Muslim unemployment, specific and tailored measures should be introduced and for employers to pay close attention to the impact of discrimination and the fear of discrimination at work.
The report examined the employment discrimination experienced by some Muslim women, especially those who wear cultural or religious clothing. For example in France, a female design engineer was sacked from her job because she refused to remove her headscarf and the case went to the European Court of Justice.
Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee said: “We heard evidence that stereotypical views of Muslim women can act as a barrier to work. The data suggests that in communities, these patterns are shifting across generations. But we remain concerned that this shift is happening too slowly and that not all Muslim women are being treated equally.”
In the report, there were suggestions that universities should have a dedicated careers advice service specifically aimed at BME students that uses role models and mentors. There were also recommendations that Jobcentre Plus staff should receive appropriate training to ensure that they fully understand the issues that Muslim people have to deal with.