Fake job applications should help map discrimination in Belgian labour market
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Fake job applications should help map discrimination in Belgian labour market

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The Flemish government will use fake job applications to better understand the extent of discriminations within the labour market of 33 sectors, the Flemish Minister of Employment Hilde Crevits said on Tuesday.

The scheme using fake applications, which will involve nearly 1.9 million employees in the hospitality and graphics sector, among others, was proposed by three labour market experts as an academic monitoring system to better understand Belgium’s discrimination problem.

“It is the first time that sectors will carry out a baseline measurement to combat discrimination in their sector. The baseline measurement will give them a clear view of what kind of discrimination is present and how big the problem is,” Crevits said in a press release.

As part of this project, fictitious applications will be sent out in response to real vacancies at companies within the participating sectors, in which candidates are very similar to each other, but differ from each other on characteristics linked to grounds for discrimination such as age, gender and origin.

These fake applications are part of a wider anti-discrimination initiative, for which each sector will receive €85,000 to organise actions to help build an inclusive labour market.

As a first step, sectors are asked to perform a risk analysis to estimate the forms of discrimination to be expected within their sector.

Based on these analyses, fictitious CVs will be sent to real vacancies in Flanders to test whether the forms of discrimination, which the sector expects to be present on the basis of the risk analysis, are actually present.

“The baseline measurement is not a goal in itself but a starting point. The baseline measurement is an awareness-raising instrument and can be a real eye-opener for sectors and companies. The conclusions will not be used to impose sanctions on the sectors,” Crevits’ press release read.

Based on the results of the baseline measurement, sectors can take specific actions to counteract discrimination.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times