Ethnic-Turks 'face German job market discrimination'

Photo: Ethnic-Turks 'face German job market discrimination' / Turkey

A youth with a Turkish name in Germany faces more hurdles than a candidate with a German one when it comes to finding a vocational training position, a recent study has revealed, Anadolu agency reported.

"An applicant with a German name gets an appointment for a job interview in his or her fifth application on average," a recent study by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) has concluded.

"When an applicant with the same qualifications, but with a Turkish name, applies for the exactly same firms, he or she can get an appointment only in his or her seventh application," it said.

As part of the study, experts at the SVR prepared fictitious CVs with the same qualifications and randomly assigned Turkish and German-sounding names to them for vocational training positions in private firms.

Applications were sent to 1,800 firms in automotive and commercial fields.

The responses showed that Turkish-named candidates were discriminated against, even though they had similar qualifications with candidates with German-sounding names.

- Negative attitudes

SVR's "Discrimination At the Vocational Training Market" study concluded that Turkish young immigrants had to submit 1.5 times more applications in order to get a positive reply for an interview.

The firms' negative attitudes towards candidates with Turkish names had often been influenced by prejudices and stereotypes, as well as fears that they may not be well-received by customers.

"The discrimination rate is significantly higher in small firms with less than six employees, in comparison to medium and large companies," said Dr. Jan Schneider, the author of the study.

SVR's research team has proposed intercultural training at companies and the use of anonymous job applications to reduce the problem.

"Anonymous job applications can be important, but not sufficient to prevent discrimination in the job market," Ayse Demir, spokesperson of the immigrant organization Berlin-Brandenburg Turkish Community, told Anadolu Agency.

"Even if the immigrant candidates can pass the first stage through anonymous job applications, they may still face discrimination at the interview," she stressed.

- 'Feelings of desperation'

According to Demir, prejudices and stereotypes need to be fought against more firmly.

"For years, Germany has been trying to find a solution to the problem of a shortage of qualified workers. We have thousands of unfilled vocational training positions. But due to the discrimination, a high number of young immigrants lose their motivation, they feel desperate," Demir said.

According to Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community in Germany, one of the umbrella organizations of Turkish immigrants in the country, there is a need for "affirmative action" to fight against discrimination in the job market.

"We have already proposed a draft law. For example, in the public sector, there is a need to define target measures - a kind of quota to prevent discrimination in recruitment - and increase the percentage of immigrants in the public workforce," Kolat told AA.

"All public institutions should announce a recruitment target for the number of employees with an immigrant background. And they should review progress in meeting these targets after a certain time period, and make their reports public," he said.

- 'Losing potential'

According to Kenan Kolat, while anonymous job applications can be seen as a step towards a solution in the short run, in the long term, only affirmative action in both public and private sectors can help Germany to effectively fight discrimination.

"The current problems of discrimination in job market and business life are leading to frustration and loss of motivation among young immigrants. They pull themselves back from the society. This is very dangerous," Kolat said.

"The problems of discrimination prevent young immigrants from identifying themselves as part of the German society. Some of the well-educated young Turkish immigrants are returning to Turkey. In this way, Germany is seriously losing a great potential for the future," he stressed.

Turks are the largest immigrant group in Germany with a population close to 3 million. Around 1 million of them have acquired German citizenship.

A majority of Turks were born and raised in the country and around 800,000 of them are under the age of 18.

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