Young Muslims face enormous social mobility barriers - report

Posted On: 
7th September 2017

Young Muslims living in Britain face enormous social mobility preventing them from realising their potential, a “disturbing” new report has found.

Some Muslims even said they attempted to hide their identity in order to avoid issues in British society.
PA Images

The study by the Social Mobility Commission said many were the victims of “broken promises” as their hard work was not being rewarded in the jobs market.

According to the 98-page report, young Muslims experienced Islamophobia and racism, and were also held back in the recruitment process by discrimination.

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The research also revealed that despite young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds outperforming their peers at school, that failed to translate into labour market progress.

The report also showed a number of participants felt pressure to hide their Muslim identity in a bid to avoid discrimination.

The analysis, based on focus groups and interviews, also found that Muslims face the greatest economic disadvantages of any faith group in UK society. Many felt they were required to work “ten times as hard” as non-Muslims just to get the same opportunities due to cultural differences and various forms of discrimination.

Just one in five Muslims (19.8%) is in full-time employment, the study found, compared to more than one in three (34.9%) of the overall population in England and Wales.

Muslim women in the UK are more likely than all other women to be economically inactive, with 18% recorded as “looking after home and family” compared with 6%  in the overall population.

The report also showed nearly half of the Muslim population (46%)  live in the 10 per cent most deprived local authority areas.

This in turn has implications for access to resources, school attainment, progression to higher education and the availability of jobs.

Young Muslims argued there are insufficient Muslim teachers or other role models in schools, meaning they do not get enough guidance and encouragement.

Former Labour Cabinet minister Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility Commission, said: “This report paints a disturbing picture of the challenges they face to making greater social progress. Young Muslims themselves identify cultural barriers in their communities and discrimination in the education system and labour market as some of the principal obstacles that stand in their way.

“Young Muslim women face a specific challenge to maintain their identity while seeking to succeed in modern Britain.

“These are complex issues and it is vital they are the subject of mature consideration and debate. It is particularly important to hear from young people from the Muslim community and respond positively to them.

“There are no easy or straightforward solutions to the issues they have raised. But a truly inclusive society depends on creating a level playing field of opportunity for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or background. That will require renewed action by government and communities, just as it will by educators and employers.”