Towards an inclusive work environment! based on life stories

Politicians, employers, and employees emphasize the importance of an inclusive labour market in which everyone can participate in work to the best of their ability, and where opportunities in the job market are not dependent on diversity aspects such as gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. However, in practice, it appears that the chances of finding work are not equal for everyone, and it does indeed matter to which ‘group’ one belongs. Whether someone is highly educated or not doesn’t make a difference. Unequal opportunities persist.

This research provides insight into the nature and impact of bias in organizations concerning individuals with a vulnerable position in the labour market. The focus is on both those seeking work and those who are already employed. The research identifies (practical) opportunities for employers to break this bias, in order to create a more inclusive work environment.

This qualitative research employs a biographical approach, starting with co-creation with stakeholders to develop knowledge. The perspective of employers is explored through various roles (managers, HR managers, and employers) and different types of companies, including SMEs. The researchers also document the life stories of twenty people with a vulnerable position in the labour market. These life stories provide insight into their living and thinking world, and the experiences they have gained during their job search. These images and insights then offer opportunities to create awareness and actionable perspectives among employers.

The researchers will widely share the results, including through a seminar and a research report. Accessible information for employers/HR managers about recognizing and breaking bias will also be provided.

Supported by GAK