Racism at work: only 10% of Somali job applicants get interview

New Ministry investigation finds widespread discrimination against people with foreign names when they apply for jobs at Finnish companies.

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File photo of young people / Credit: iStock

Only 10% of job applications from people with Somali names lead to a job interview in a large-scale study carried out by Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment TEM, leading to heated debate online about whether Finland is an inherently racist country.

The TEM investigation sent out a total of 5000 job applications with similar content to Finnish work places using Russian, Iraqi, Somali and Finnish names.

In total, 36% of the applications with traditionally Finnish names led to interviews but only 10% of applications with Somali names did.

Helsinki City councilor Husu Hussein (SDP) says that Finnish society in general needs to overhaul its own attitude towards immigrants.

“The issue is attitudes towards immigrants in the Finnish community itself. We should stop making excuses for these acts and make sure that those companies which are discriminating are harmful to the well-being of Finland” says Hussein.

“Immigrant workers and companies should be talked about as a necessity. At the moment, even immigrant-owned taxi business owners are discussed like cheaters and tax avoiders even though the number of taxi drivers or businesses doing this are very small numbers” he tells News Now Finland.

File picture of Husu Hussein / Credit: Candidate

When Hussein posted comments about the TEM study on his Twitter account some people reacted in a supportive way, or pointed out that other minority groups like Roma also faced discrimination.

Others said that there are still everyday examples of racism in Finland, but that it’s unfair to label the whole country as racist.

However there was an angry backlash when the Social Democrat politician tweeted that “Finland is a racist country”.

One woman wrote “the perfect solution, everyone experiencing racism should return to their home countries”; while another man wrote “the dog bites the hand that feeds it” in response to Hussein’s comments; and another man wrote “you should be grateful to be in the best country in the world, Finland, if not go back to Somalia” co-opting the #SendHerBack hashtag that has become popular among right-wing supporters of US President Donald Trump as #SendHimBack directed at Hussein.

A full report on the TEM study is due to be released in the autumn, but it was discussed at the recent Suomi Areena event in Pori.

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