OECD societies have become increasingly diverse in the past decades, offering new
opportunities if diversity is properly managed. Ensuring that OECD countries are equipped
to make the most of diversity by fully utilising all talent among diverse populations
and promoting inclusive labour markets is a key challenge. Both businesses and governments
are responding to this challenge with policies to strengthen the inclusion of diverse
groups in the workplace and labour markets. This report considers five key groups
who are widely considered disadvantaged in the labour market and society at large
and who often face discrimination based on their group membership: immigrants, their
descendants and ethnic minorities; LGBT people; older people; people with disabilities;
and women. It assesses: i) how the inclusion of these groups in OECD labour markets
has evolved over time, ii) the evidence on how diversity affects economic outcomes;
and iii) which policies countries have implemented and what is known about their effectiveness.
This report finds that, over the past two decades, the labour market participation of women has increased strongly; the population shares of migrants and their children are growing in almost all OECD countries; and more LGBTI people are open about their sexual orientation. But older people and many people with disabilities face elevated COVID-19 health risks, and, in many countries, ethnic minorities are also disproportionately more likely to die than the majority population. The disease is also affecting disproportionally migrants, partly because they have more limited access to health care, but also because they may live and work in conditions where social distancing is hard to enforce. What is more, they are in a more vulnerable situation in the labour market, and the crisis is threatening to further widening pre-existing gaps in labour market outcomes for migrants, ethnic minorities and other disfavoured groups. At the same time, already prior to the pandemic, there was a growing polarisation in attitudes towards diverse groups, especially migrants and ethnic minorities.
Among its recommendations are that policy makers focus on the most disadvantaged within the diverse groups to avoid further inequalities and instead better exploit the full potential of a more diverse and equal economy and society in order to avoid massive unemployment and increases in poverty and exclusion.