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Copenhagen will eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace

Copenhagen will eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace

Copenhageners with a minority background are often discriminated against

The Municipality of Copenhagen has announced that the City is launching a company-oriented effort to promote ethnic diversity in the labour market. This decision comes after a study titled “Unconscious ethnic discrimination in the Copenhagen labour market” revealed that many Copenhageners with a minority background feel discriminated against in the workplace.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias refers to the stereotypes that people have about certain groups of people. The reason these biases are termed ‘unconscious’ is because they happen outside of one’s conscious awareness. In other words, they are out of one’s control and the thoughts occur automatically. As a result, people often make choices and judgements that are biased, without even realising it.

If these unconscious biases are not acknowledged, they can negatively impact one’s decision-making. This is especially true in the workplace. Victims of unconscious bias do not receive the same opportunities and are often rejected when applying for jobs that they are otherwise qualified for. What is more, they may be ignored, dismissed, and discriminated against by their employers and colleagues at work.

Promoting ethnic diversity

The City of Copenhagen has taken the most important step in combating this issue: acknowledging the existence of unconscious bias. Now, the Employment and Integration Administration in the City of Copenhagen will work with Foreningen Nydansker and Als Research to put an end to unconscious bias and promote ethnic diversity in the workplace.

The employment and integration mayor Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard explains that by recruiting diversely, companies can benefit in numerous ways. Speaking to the municipality, Lonning-Skovgaard commented on the aforementioned research: “The study shows that Copenhageners with a minority background constitute an untapped potential for Copenhagen companies.

For example, there is a relatively high number of unemployed non-Western immigrants with a qualifying education who should match the demand for that kind of labour. We therefore want to build a bridge between companies and candidates with a minority ethnic background and highlight the many strengths of diversity.”

To put an end to this bias and discrimination, the City has organised workshops and seminars where companies can learn more about these issues. Taking this further, companies such as IBM, Novo Nordisk and Jobindex have signed up to participate and share information on unconscious bias and diversity.

The director of Jobindex Kaare Danielsen disclosed that they have seen how different backgrounds, language skills and perspectives can help businesses grow and develop. At the same time, Danielsen revealed that as a recruitment partner, Jobindex has witnessed numerous companies rejecting talented candidates solely because of unconscious bias and narrow-minded ideas.

Therefore, Copenhagen’s efforts to combat these issues and promote ethnic diversity will be beneficial for everyone involved. To register for workshops, visit the talentby.dk website.

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