Discrimination in the Finnish Labour MarketAn Overview and a Field Experiment on Recruitment
This report consists of two parts: I) a general overview of existing information on discrimination in the Finnish labour market and a proposal for a monitoring model, and II) a presentation of the first Finnish situation test on recruitment discrimination.
The literature review gives an outline of existing research results and formal complaints data on labour discrimination on the grounds included in the Finnish Non-Discrimination Act: age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, disability, health, sexual orientation, religion, belief, opinion and other personal characteristics. Gender is included as a cross-cutting theme. Raw data from a large-scale national survey (the Quality of Work Life Survey) was re-analysed by differentiating the answers of young and old employees, employees of foreign background, employee representatives and chronically ill or disabled employees.
Based on existing research results, it seems that almost ten per cent of employees in Finland have observed discrimination based on age at their workplace. Almost as much discrimination against employees and job seekers belonging to ethnic minorities was observed. When this finding is compared with the small size of ethnic minority groups in Finland it seems clear that they are especially vulnerable to labour discrimination.
When asked about their own perceptions of discrimination, about 40% of women and 30% of men reported they had experienced discrimination in their current job. Chronically ill or disabled women experienced discrimination most often, while old men experienced discrimination the least often. Regarding complaints reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Divisions, health status was clearly the most common ground for reporting.
In addition, different research methods for assessing the level of discrimination are discussed and amendments to the monitoring of labour discrimination are proposed. Recommendations include the harmonisation and systematisation of data collection in order to better enable longitudinal monitoring. Better use could also be made of the potential offered by different official registers. The establishment of a coordinating body would facilitate these tasks.
The second part of the report presents the first Finnish field experiment on recruitment discrimination using the situation testing method. Recruitment discrimination was studied on the grounds of ethnicity and gender when applying for semi-skilled office, restaurant, driver and construction jobs. The method is based on a comparison of the success of fictional job seekers with matched education and work experience. Male and female test applicants with Russian and Finnish names applied for a total of 1200 vacant jobs at the end of the year 2011.
The findings show that job seekers with Russian names had to send twice as many applications as those with Finnish names in order to receive an invitation to a job interview. Although ethnic discrimination was found in all studied cities and occupational categories, no differences were found between cities or occupations. Among Finnish job seekers, male applicants were discriminated against when applying for female-dominated semi-skilled office jobs. Men with Russian names faced discrimination on multiple grounds when applying for waiter, construction and driver jobs. Discrimination based on ethnicity is three times more common than discrimination based on gender.