Rise in age-related discrimination at work

Most of the respondents to the ‘Trends’ survey carried out by the Centre of Empirical Studies (STEM) in April 2011 believed that some groups of people are discriminated against at work. The extent of the problem in the Czech Republic has increased significantly in the last year. Discrimination on the grounds of age was considered to be ‘very frequent’ by almost half of respondents. State of health and motherhood/pregnancy were the next most common reasons for discrimination at work.

About the study

One of the purposes of the ‘Trends’ survey carried out in April 2011 by research agency Centre of Empirical Studies (STEM) was to learn more about the views of Czech people on discrimination at work. This representative survey involves a set of questions that have been asked each year since 2004. In 2011, a total of 1,286 people aged over 18 years took part in the survey, selected via a quota sampling method.

Discrimination identified as a serious problem

The majority (85%) of respondents were of the opinion that some groups of people are discriminated against at work in the Czech Republic. This is the highest number since 2004 when STEM started monitoring opinions on this issue. Almost a third were very confident in their opinion while only a negligible percentage denied discrimination at work occurred (see figure below).

‘Do you think that some groups of the population are discriminated against at work in our country?’

‘Do you think that some groups of population are discriminated at work in our country?’

Source: STEM, Trends 4/2011

Compared with previous surveys, there was a significant increase in the percentage of respondents who considered discrimination in general to be a major problem. Discrimination at work was described in 2011 as a ‘very important’ or a ‘relatively big’ problem by 66% of respondents whereas in 2010 this opinion was held by only 47% of respondents.

Discrimination is viewed as a ‘very important’ or ‘relatively big’ problem more often by women and by those aged 45–59 years (in both cases 70% of answers). Attitudes towards discrimination are also influenced by the relative affluence of respondents’ households; 78% of less affluent households considered discrimination a serious problem.

A significant increase was also reported in the percentage of respondents who believe that the incidence of discrimination has been increasing over the last 10 years (41% in 2011 compared with 29% in 2010). Almost half of respondents regarded the situation as unchanged while 12% tended to think that discrimination has been diminishing in the period in question. Opinions about the development of discrimination were closely related to how the significance of the problem was perceived. A rise in discrimination was therefore reported particularly by those who also considered discrimination to be a serious problem in the Czech Republic.

Most frequent types of discrimination

Respondents most frequently linked discrimination in the labour market with:

  • age;
  • state of health;
  • having children/being pregnant.

Race, nationality, gender and family commitments are also cited as common discriminatory factors.

Disadvantage due to age was regarded as a ‘very frequent’ type of discrimination by 87% of respondents. Religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, property and social origin were considered motives for discrimination ‘very infrequently’ (see table below). The order and extent reported for individual reasons for discrimination remained unchanged between the 2010 and 2011 surveys.

‘How often are people in the Czech Republic discriminated against on the labour market for the following reasons?’ (%)
 

Very often

Relatively often

Relatively seldom

Very seldom

Age

48

39

11

2

Health, disability

27

48

21

4

Motherhood, pregnancy

25

44

23

8

Race, ethnicity

14

45

35

6

Gender

14

39

37

10

Family commitments

12

37

34

17

Nationality

5

29

48

18

Social origin, property

5

17

41

37

Sexual orientation

3

11

41

45

Political opinion

2

12

40

46

Religion

1

6

36

57

Source: STEM, Trends 4/2011

References

STEM (2011), Od loňska výrazně vzrostl podíl občanů, kteří považují diskriminaci v naší zemi za velký problém [Since last year, the percentage of people who consider discrimination in our country a big problem has markedly increased], Information from the survey of STEM Trends 4/2011, Prague.

STEM (2012), Jsou v zaměstnání diskriminovány některé skupiny obyvatel? 85% Čechů si myslí, že ano [Are any groups of population discriminated at work? 85% of the Czechs think so], Information from the survey of STEM Trends 4/2011, Prague.

Pfeiferová Štěpánka, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)

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