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 “Overall, the research suggests that young Muslims feel a real challenge in maintaining their identity while seeking to succeed in Britain. They felt worried about being different and unsure about whether getting on was compatible with their identity as Muslims. Some responded by asserting their Muslim identity, although in some cases this constrained the career choices they made. Others felt there was a pressure to hide their Muslim identity and so avoid the issue that way.”

Report: The Social Mobility Challenges faced by Young Muslims

Authors: Jacqueline Stevenson, Sean Demack, Bernie Stiell, Muna Abdi and Lisa Clarkson; Sheffield Hallam University
Farhana Ghaffar; Oxford Brookes University, Shaima Hassan; Liverpool John Moore’s University

In 2016, research by the Social Mobility Commission1 analysed the impact of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status on outcomes in the education system and in the labour market. The analysis found that young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds are more likely than ever to succeed in education and go on to university than other groups – particularly girls. Despite their successes, however, Muslims experience the greatest economic disadvantages of any group in UK society. They are more likely than non-Muslims to experience neighbourhood deprivation, housing, educational and health disadvantage, and unemployment. The report concluded that there was a ‘broken social mobility promise’ for young Muslims where educational success did not translate into good labour market outcomes.

This qualitative report explores the attitudes and reasons behind this situation. It offers an account of young Muslims’ perceptions of growing up and seeking work in the UK. The report is designed to contribute to a better understanding of the causes of low social mobility for young Muslims.

. . .

  • The research suggests that young Muslims already encounter significant barriers in the education system itself.
  • Young Muslims have a relatively high level of participation in higher education, but their choices tended to be more constrained than those of some other ethnic groups. The Muslims interviewed in this research complained of inequitable access to high status universities as a result of geographical provision, discrimination at the point of entry, or self-limiting choices reflecting fears of being in a minority.
  • Young Muslims feel their transition into the labour market is hampered by insufficient careers advice, lack of access to informal networks and discrimination in the recruitment process
  • Racism, discrimination and lack of cultural awareness in the workplace impacts on career development and progression

click here.

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