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Government and ministries

Roma employment improving despite continued discrimination

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
25.11.2019 10.01 | Published in English on 25.11.2019 at 14.52
Press release

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on the employment, entrepreneurship and labour market integration of the Roma shows that employment of the Roma and their position in the labour market have improved. This can be attributed to an improvement in the level of education and to a more positive attitude towards education. There is also some indication that self-employment among the Roma is increasing. Despite these developments, the Roma continue to face prejudices and discrimination.

Unemployment continues to be higher among the Roma than among the majority population. Obstacles to employment typically include a low level of education, lack of work experience, cultural factors and discrimination in the labour market. 

Education paths among the Roma continue to be more fragmented than among the rest of the population. The Roma are employed in a number of different fields but predominantly in positions requiring little or no education and training. Reasons for this, according to the study, are a lack of pioneers and role models, combined with lack of information on occupational and educational choices. Other reasons may include a low level of confidence among Roma youth in their own abilities as students and as employees.

Accurate statistics on Roma entrepreneurs are not available but, according to estimates, self-employment has increased to some extent. The Roma are showing a growing interest in self-employment, which they also regard as an opportunity to break prejudices. 

Positive discrimination could improve the position of the Roma

Based on the study, the position of the Roma is already in transition in the labour market. However, special actions might provide a quicker way of improving their employment opportunities, inclusion and equality in the labour market. Such actions could include individual and workplace specific solutions, face-to-face meetings, and actions to shape general attitudes. 

When necessary, employment and economic development services (TE Services) and other public services could proactively use positive discrimination to provide fair and equal employment opportunities for the Roma. Other ways of addressing the employment challenges include supporting individual goal-oriented paths to employment or self-employment, and inviting Roma representatives to take part in planning the actions.

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on the employment, entrepreneurship and labour market integration of the Roma was conducted by the Owal Group Oy in collaboration with specialist Mertsi Ärling. The objective of the study was to examine the position and participation of the Roma in the labour market, identify factors that promote and prevent employment, and to produce views on effective and cost-efficient services, operating models and good practices that support employment. The study is part of the implementation of the National Policy on Roma (ROMPO) for 2018–2022.

Ahti Avikainen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 980
Laura Jauhola, Manager, Owal Group Oy, tel. +358 50 443 1841

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