Equality and Equity Report

CCRU home background on CCRU community relations equality and equity research

THE REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY
IN NORTHERN IRELAND

CENTRAL COMMUNITY RELATIONS UNIT
(1992)




Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Scope of the Review
Structure of the Review
Some Starting Points
Key Areas
Progress Indicators
Conclusion
Appendix 1
Appendix 2



EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY REVIEW STRATEGY

Foreword

During the passage through Parliament of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Bill, the Government said that the Central Community Relations Unit (CCRU) would undertake a comprehensive review of the legislation five years after its introduction. It was also stated that, in carrying out the review, CCRU would consult with the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights, the Fair Employment Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission, employers organisations, trade unions and all those "who contributed so constructively and influentially to the framing of the legislation". The consultation process to date has involved a seminar to launch the Review and workshops on employment and unemployment. This document, which outlines the broad strategy which CCRU is following in taking forward the Review, is both the product of the consultation process and a further element of it. It is intended to inform and to stimulate debate.


Central Community Relations Unit
September 1992



EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY REVIEW STRATEGY

Introduction
1.The Fair Employment Act came into operation on 1 January 1990. The objective of the legislation is to promote equality of opportunity for Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. During its passage through Parliament the Government undertook to monitor the implementation of the Act on a continuous basis and after five years to carry out a broadly based formal review of the effectiveness of the Act and of progress towards equality of opportunity and fair participation in employment.
2. Regular monitoring of progress in implementing the legislation is carried out by the Fair Employment Commission (FEC) and the Department of Economic Development (DED). Responsibility for carrying out the formal Review rests with the Central Community Relations Unit (CCRU) which was formed in 1987 to advise the Secretary of State on all aspects of relationships between the different parts of the Northern Ireland community. The Unit reports through the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and is charged with formulating, reviewing and challenging policy throughout Government affecting community relations. The outcome of the Review will be published.


Scope of the Review
3. Because the Review will examine all the factors which impact on employment equality it will cover a comprehensive range of issues which are the responsibility of several Government Departments. In particular, such matters as education, training and job creation will be considered. The effectiveness of the legislation and the work of the Fair Employment Commission will also be examined. To assist CCRU with advice and information a Review Steering Group has been set up which includes senior representatives from the relevant Departments and the FEC.
4. Although the formal commitment was to carry out the Review five years after the coming into operation of the legislation (ie in 1995), it is necessary to establish at an early stage, and to publicise, the parameters of the exercise and, in particular, the means by which progress is to be measured.
5. This paper outlines the structure of the Review and details how progress will be assessed.


Structure of the Review
6. The Review falls naturally into two parts:-
1. assessing the progress being made towards employment equality; and
2. advising on where and how faster progress might be made.
7.Progress towards employment equality requires concerted effort within and outside the Government and depends not just on the effectiveness of the Fair Employment Act in its target areas, but on bringing about change across a range of fronts. It is important therefore to identify the key areas in which progress has to be made and the ways in which it can be measured.
8. CCRU has consulted with the Equal Opportunities Commission, Fair Employment Commission, Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights, employers' organisations, trade unions, academics, politicians and others in forming its views on how the Review should be conducted and the issues which it needs to cover. These consultations will continue during the course of the Review. The option has been retained of tabling interim recommendations before the full Review is completed.


Some Starting Points
9. The ultimate aim must be to reach a situation in which Catholics and Protestants enjoy full equality of opportunity in seeking employment and fair participation in employment. Progress towards that objective has, however, to be set in the context of the acute economic problems facing Northern Ireland and the continuing adverse effects of terrorism on job creation and on existing employment.
10. There are still major inequalities between Catholics and Protestants in unemployment and employment. For example:-
(1) Catholics suffer more severely from unemployment - the most recent figures* indicate that overall unemployment rates are 18% for Catholics and 8% for Protestants; 23% of male Catholics are unemployed as against 9% of male Protestants; 11% of female Catholics are unemployed as against 6% of female Protestants, Furthermore 68% of the long term unemployed are Catholic and 32% Protestant.
(2) According to the 1991 Labour Force Survey, the economically active population of Northern Ireland is 59% Protestant and 41% Catholic, while the composition of those in employment is 62% Protestant and 38% Catholic. However, Catholic male employees are significantly less likely than their Protestant counterparts to hold professional/ managerial positions (the composition of these groups is 71% Protestant, 29% Catholic) and are over-represented in the unskilled manual groups (composition 54% Protestant, 46% Catholic).

The statistics given are from the 1991 Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is a sample survey conducted each year in all member states of the European Community (EC). The main purpose of the survey is to obtain comparable data on the characteristics of the workforee in each country and region of the EC. The definition of unemployment used is consistent with the guidelines of the International Labour Organisation.


Key Areas
11. If equality of opportunity and fair participation are to be achieved progress has to be made in the areas of employment and unemployment. In relation to employment the major issues are:-
Employment Practices - at employer level, ensuring that employers review the composition of their workforce and the flows of applicants and recruits into and through it, eradicating direct and indirect discrimination, establishing fair employment policies and practices, and promoting employment equality through affirmative action where appropriate.
Employability - eliminating differences in the qualifications and skill levels between Protestants and Catholics so that they can compete on equal terms for the available employment opportunities.
Employment Opportunities - increasing employment opportunities especially in areas where unemployment is highest.
Employment Perceptions - removing the obstacles, perceived or real, to men and women on one side of the community seeking employment in workplaces and occupations traditionally associated with those on the other side.
12. With regard to unemployment, the enduring nature of the difference in the unemployment rates between Protestants and Catholics is a major problem which contributes to disadvantage and a sense of discrimination and alienation among Catholics. While the Catholic:Protestant unemployment differential is a key indicator of inequality, it is not in itself a sensitive measure of discrimination. The Review will report on research which has been commissioned on the range of factors which give rise to the unemployment differential and the complexities of the relationships between employment and unemployment.
13. The Review will seek to throw more light on the characteristics of unemployment, for example by further research on the unemployment experiences and characteristics of Catholics and Protestants, and the relative success rates of unemployed Catholics and Protestants in obtaining work.
14. The Review will also focus on the adequacy and effectiveness of the steps being taken to secure equality of opportunity for male and female unemployed Catholics and Protestants eg ensuring availability of, and access to, training and employment schemes, especially in relation to the long-term unemployed.


Progress Indicators
15. A range of indicators has been identified by which progress can best be measured in relation to the issues outlined. Appendix I provides examples of the key primary indicators which will be used in the Review. Others may be developed in the light of experience and as a result of the consultation process. Appendix 2 outlines sources from which information relating to the various indicators will be drawn. It will take time to build up a picture of trends. Work has already begun in a number of important areas and CCRU will publish research results as they become available.


Conclusion

16.

This strategy paper sets out the broad approach which CCRU will be adopting as it develops the Employment Equality Review. It is not the definitive statement of what the Review will contain and any further views or comments would be welcome.




APPENDIX 1

Key Area for Review
Associated Objective
Primary Indicator
1. Employment practicesEradicating discrimination, establishing fair employment policies and practices and promoting employment equality i. Success rates of Protestant and Catholic applicants in obtaining jobs.
ii. The relative composition of the workforce.
iii. The extent to which employers are adopting good employment practices.
iv. The proportion of employers with religious imbalances who have adopted affirmative action.
v. The representation of Catholics and Protestants by different occupational groups and industrial sectors.
vi. Findings by FET of discrimination.
2. EmployabilityRemoving differences in the qualifications and skill levels between Catholics and Protestants so that they can compete on equal terms for the available employment opportunities i. The educational qualifications obtained by Catholics and Protestants.
ii. Access to and uptake of grammar school places by Catholics and Protestants.
iii. Access to and the representation of Protestants and Catholics in different types of training.
iv. The training qualifications obtained by Catholics and Protestants.
v. The success rates of Catholic and Protestant trainees in obtaining jobs.
vi. Flows into third level education.
3. Employment OpportunitiesIncreasing employment opportunities, especially in those disadvantaged areas where unemployment is highest. i. The number, location and type of jobs created.
ii. The number, location and type of jobs created with public funds.
iii. The number, location and type of jobs created in employment schemes.
4. Employment PerceptionsRemoving the obstacles to one section of the community seeking employment in work places and occupations traditionally dominated by the other. i. The increase in application rates from the community which has traditionally been under-represented.
ii. Changes in community perceptions of the extent to which all sections of the community have equality of opportunity in employment.
5. UnemploymentReducing the unemployment differential. i. The comparative levels of unemployment in the Catholic and Protestant populations.
ii. The comparison of duration of unemployment between Catholics and Protestants.


APPENDIX 2

Primary Indicator Information Source
Success rates of Protestant and Catholic applicants in obtaining jobs. FEC monitoring returns
The relative composition of the workforce. (i) FEC monitoring returns
(ii) Labour Force Survey
The extent to which employers are operating good employment practices. Commissioned research
The proportion of employers with religious imbalances who have adopted affirmative action. FEC research
The representation of Catholics and Protestants by different occupational groups and industrial sectors. FEC monitoring returns
Findings by FET of discrimination. Publicly available information
The educational qualifications obtained by Catholics and Protestants. (i) School Leavers Survey (primary data source) study
(ii) Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) funded
Access to and uptake of grammar school places by Catholics and Protestants. DENI Education systems
Access to and the representation of Protestants and Catholics in different types of training. Training and Employment Agency (T&EA) monitoring systems
The training qualifications obtained by Catholics and Protestants. T&EA monitoring systems
The success rates of Catholic and Protestant trainees in obtaining jobs. T&EA monitoring systems
Flows into third level education. ESRC funded study
The number, location and type of jobs created Census of Employment
The number, location and type of jobs created with public funds. IDB and LEDU statistics
The number, location and type of jobs created in employment schemes. T&EA monitoring systems
The increase in application rates from the community which has traditionally been under-represented. FEC monitoring returns
Changes in community perceptions of the extent to which all sections of the community have equality of opportunity in employment. NI Social Attitudes Survey
The comparative levels of unemployment in the Catholic and Protestant populations. Labour Force Survey (primary data source)
The comparison of duration of unemployment between Catholics and Protestants. Labour Force Survey (primary data source)

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