Discrimination on the labour market – Roma and their perspectives


The article is taken from romalitico.wordpress.com



Every day, people work painstakingly to ensure fair income for themselves and their families, and to assist the growth of our economy… But many people go to work with the fear of losing their jobs based on factors that are based on gender, race, ethnicity…. (Houston Business Journal)


Conclusion and recommendations

Although discrimination in the labour market is difficult to prove, unequal treatment of Roma shown by many public examples confirm the presence of this phenomenon. My personal view is that this phenomenon significantly contributes to the high rates of unemployment, and the representation of the Roma community in the profile of low profitable positions. Undoubtedly, education and experience greatly influence the labour market. In this context, the arguments favour that Roma have lower levels of education and less work experience, and therefore there’s a high unemployment rate and segregation of job positions. Contrary to these arguments, the constant examples indicate the existence of discrimination in the labour market but also in education, and therefore Roma enter the labour market with already acquired differences which, due to the same factors, are manifested in low employment of the Roma community.

Below are the recommendations regarding the creation of social and human capital as a response to the problems of the labour market. However, in terms of suppression of existing examples of discrimination, the response strategy is necessary for unification of the stakeholders towards a defined goal.

1. Creation of a social capital

What the Roma community lacks is social capital. What does this term represent and why is it important for a community to possess social capital? The essence of the social capital lies in the creation of social ties and values ​​aimed at collective action. Simplified and adapted to the Roma case, this means connecting 12 million Roma across Europe through shared interests and values ​​aimed at opening businesses and employing Roma. The potential of the Roma diaspora from Macedonia is significantly large; this combined with the favourable opportunities of opening a business in Macedonia would mean success for the overall society in Macedonia. This experience is not impossible, there are various successful examples throughout history, such as: African – Americans, Jews, Turks, Albanians, etc. Although it represents a lengthy process that requires creation of values ​​based on confidence, a strong sense of belonging, identity, it is not impossible. In order for all of the above to become a reality, at first it is necessary to start building relationships with the Roma who are abroad; to develop communication and to deepen it and redirect it from relative relations to creation of ties of a common economic interest; creating partnership relations with the other communities, a process of investment and a mechanism for maintaining the ties. This social connectivity means economic power which interconnected may result in opening of family businesses, and then of job positions for other Roma families.

2. Creation and sustainability of human capital

Knowledge, experience, skills of an individual or a group of individuals reflects the potential of human capital of a certain community in a society. In the specific condition, considering the Roma community, the creation of this capital began building much later than the rest; a time when most communities already had obtained a capital and practiced it in terms of developing the individual and group progress in society.

However, in order to develop a long-term strategy for creation and maintenance of human capital, it is necessary to satisfy the following prerequisites:

  •  Development of the environment that affects the creation of human capital


Home environment – in this area it is necessary to have a long-term strategy for cooperation with the parents and their motivation and commitment to support Roma students/pupils. Undoubtedly, it is particularly important to instil certain values ​​in the prospective students about the value of education and social responsibility toward their community.

Community – The environment within a community involves creation of cultural capital by the community where specified norms related to community progress, value of education and creation of opportunities, are exploited in order to gain economic power and opening of possibilities for the community.

Educational institutions – within these ranges, besides the physical environment of educational institutions, the resource environment where Roma students/pupils learn also has a significant impact. Here, above all, the quality of the teaching staff is taken into consideration, as well as their views, attitudes, and responsibility towards the Roma community; the representation of Roma staff in the same institutions, and the equipment of the school. These are determining factors for development of the students, and creation of an atmosphere where all students equally have the same opportunities and the same starting position in education.

  •   Performances/achievements

If you check statistical data on the progress of the Roma community compared to other communities, there are significant deviations in the Roma community in relation to others in the field of education. Such statistic does not show the positive achievements of the Roma community in the field of education throughout the years. These statistics, for which we are partly to blame because of the representation of the reports in order to attract donors, do not note progress and contribute to a negative attitude that there have been no observed changes. WE are the ones who create the image; we should promote and value the models of successful and educated Roma so that the young generations will draw successful examples.

  • Distribution of human capital

Within the creation of a long-term strategy for creation of human capital, the areas where Roma students are directed should be taken into consideration. Thereby it is particularly important to invest in priority areas where the Roma community can have the greatest benefit. In regard to this, it is necessary to have good vision and projection of where we as Roma are headed, and in which direction to invest – economics, medical science, pedagogy, politics, computer sciences, etc.

3. Development of a reaction strategy

The reactions to different types of discrimination should be directly aimed to target the root of the problem. In this context it is necessary for a group of Leaders/Coordinating body to exist, which would be willing to carry the burden and the consequences of the taken actions. In any case, these reactions should be collective, not individual. Individual reactions can have weight only if they grow in groups directed towards defined goals and towards the following types to actions:

  • Protest – Mass protest which indicates the seriousness of the committed action and calls the institutions in the system to get involved in solving the case
  • Asking the relevant institutions to solve the case. In this framework it is necessary to have a good coordination between Roma lawyers who will take over the case and conduct it in the relevant institutions until it is completed.
  • Development of partners – local and foreign partners / stakeholders / citizens / NGOs who are willing to express their reaction and support to eradicate the negative phenomena in the society.
  • Monitoring of the case / Protest – This process includes monitoring of the process within the relevant institutions, and reporting in a timely manner to the population that aims to exert pressure on the institutions in order to solve the case.

The combination of the aforementioned recommendations partly contributes to overcoming of discrimination in the labour market. Developing and connecting of the social and human capital is of particular importance in the long run. In these frameworks, the World Bank particularly points to the utilisation of this potential, and even assists the process of creating networks in order to improve the socio-economic status. However, failure to take action in cases where discrimination in the labour market occurs means its approval. Hence the fact that it is necessary to act in a democratic way and to use state institutions in order to resolve such situations.

The complete text can be read here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.