24. 1. 2020.

Persons most discriminated in the labour market are persons with disabilities, the elderly, persons with different political beliefs and the Roma

As suggested by opinions of the vast majority of employers, the unemployed and employees, the discrimination at work and in employment in Serbia most certainly exists – as further confirmed by the Labour Market Discrimination Survey, implemented with support of the German Development Cooperation for the needs of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality of the Republic of Serbia, and delivered within the framework of the “Inclusion of Roma and other marginalised groups in Serbia”. The study presented today at the Envoy Conference Centre in Belgrade confirmed that 92% of employers, 86% of unemployed persons, and 84% of employees affirm the presence of discrimination.

“All stakeholders included in the study agree that the most discriminated groups in the labour market are persons with disabilities, older workers, persons of different political beliefs and Roma. People living with HIV/AIDS, migrants, the poor and the LGBT are also susceptible to discrimination. Study findings such as these underscore the views of labour market participants, but fail to suggest the objective extent of the discrimination. Nonetheless, the data obtained from this study remain significant for measuring the achieved results and the directions of further anti-discrimination activities, all of which are being carried out in cooperation with partners, including the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality,“ said Petar Antić, Project Manager for “Inclusion of Roma and other marginalised groups”, a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

“Ever since the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination was adopted ten years ago, work and employment related discrimination in Serbian labour market has topped the list of complaints filed by citizens. One third of all citizens’ complaints concern this issue, and in that sense, I expect no significant change this year either,” the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković explained by further stressing that discrimination, especially in the labour market, is also a significant economic and not only a social issue.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, H.E. Thomas Schieb agrees with the Commissioner. “The Roma population is a fairly young population. They are a huge resource for both the labour market and the state that will only come to the forefront once their inclusion in all relevant areas, as outlined in the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016 – 2025, is final”, said Schieb and added that “almost 50% of employers, employees and the unemployed believe the laws safeguarding from work and employment related discrimination are good, but lack proper application. That proposes the priority to improve the enforcement of regulations as the most important prerequisite for socio-economic inclusion of marginalised groups.”

The majority of employers and employees, who took part in the study, believe that members of hard-to-employ groups should be granted easier access to secondary school and university enrolment. Also, as many as four out of five surveyed employers, and more than 2/3 of employees, support affirmative employment measures for Roma and persons with disabilities. “These data indicate that multi-annual activities and campaigns for promoting equality and creating equal opportunities for marginalised groups have yielded results. On the other hand however, many respondents did confirm the significant presence of stereotypes and prejudices when it comes to Roma and their role in the labour market, and those stereotypes and prejudices are at the root of discrimination as a social phenomenon,” Antić explained.

The study has indicated that, apart from campaigns for raising the general anti-discrimination awareness and combating stereotypes and prejudices, there is a strong need to work on campaigns targeting the unemployed, since, as suggested by the study, as many as 31% of the unemployed remain uninformed about the anti-discrimination institute.

The study has taken place between July and September 2019, organised by agency Faktor Plus, using a sample of 1112 respondents, both male and female, of which 96 employers, 513 employees and 503 unemployed individuals with predominantly secondary and higher education.