Employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

The Government’s approach to integration and opportunity

1.The Government must work to rebuild trust with Muslim communities by adopting an approach to integration which focuses on how it improves the life chances of disadvantaged communities rather than through the lens of counter-extremism. The Government must set out how it will address the challenge and work to achieve equality for British Muslims. This aim is distinct and should be separated from the Government’s work to challenge extremism. (Paragraph 41)

2.Despite a welcome focus from the Government on tackling disadvantage, it still lacks a coherent overarching plan with measurable objectives to tackle the inequalities faced by Muslims. (Paragraph 42)

3.The Government must introduce a plan to tackle the inequalities faced by Muslims by the end of the year. The 2020 challenge and McGregor Smith and Parker reviews must identify the distinct barriers that individuals from different groups face on the basis of their religion, ethnicity and migration history, and include specific policies to address the disadvantages faced by Muslim people. (Paragraph 42)

4.Key to this is a drive to improve the quality of data so that employers, universities and the Government can all play their part in helping Muslim people achieve their potential. A lack of comprehensive data is hindering analysis of the barriers that Muslim people face in achieving equality of opportunity. This gives more weight to anecdotal evidence and undermines the analysis of policy efficacy. (Paragraph 43)

5.The Government needs to address this issue directly in its response to this Report, and outline how it intends to improve data collection, including timescales. (Paragraph 43)

Supporting the aspirations of Muslim women

6.One of the key drivers of the under-representation of Muslims in the labour market is the high levels of economic inactivity among Muslim women. The data suggests that these patterns are shifting across generations but we remain concerned that this shift is happening too slowly and that not all women who aspire to work or progress in their careers are being supported to make that a reality. (Paragraph 84)

7.Gender equality applies to all British residents no matter what faith. We have noted the evidence that stereotypical views of Muslim women, which may be held by employers or communities, can act as a barrier to employment opportunities. (Paragraph 85)

8.The Government needs to show confidence in challenging such views to help Muslim women to access language and education and to work independently. (Paragraph 85)

9.We have heard evidence of the value of a peer-to-peer approach, such as mentoring and role modelling, in helping Muslim women overcome barriers to employment. (Paragraph 86)

10.We note that mosques can also play an important role in promoting opportunities for Muslim women. The Government Equalities Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government should create specific national outreach programmes to promote female role models within Muslim communities as soon as possible. The Department for Work and Pensions should also consider integrating tailored peer-to-peer support into their support package. (Paragraph 86)

11.The impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women should not be underestimated. The Government should raise awareness amongst employers of what constitutes illegal discrimination. In particular, this applies to those employers who advertise vacancies through Jobcentre Plus. (Paragraph 86)

Widening access to university

12.Our key recommendations are that:

13.We also recommend that:

Providing effective support to work

14.Our key recommendations are:

15.We also recommend:

Tackling workplace discrimination

16.Our key recommendations are that:

17.We also recommend that:

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3 August 2016