In its latest report, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) examined how the acceptance of diversity and the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups have changed in the OECD countries in the period between 2008 and 2018. Approximately one-third of the OECD nations do not believe that their city or local area is a good place to live in for ethnic minorities, immigrants, or LGBTQ people in 2018.
OECD uses the expression ‘diversity’ as an umbrella term, and the report considers five key groups that are widely considered disadvantaged in the labour market and who often face discrimination based on the group they belong to: women; immigrants, their descendants, and ethnic minorities; LGBTQ people; older people; and people with disabilities. OECD societies have become increasingly diverse over the past decades: the number of immigrants and their children has increased in almost all countries, the labour market participation of women has increased remarkably, and the attitudes towards people’s sexual orientation have become more favourable. These trends have also been accompanied by an increased awareness for issues surrounding diversity, Szeretlek Magyarország wrote.
Recent trends suggest some positive changes in the attitudes towards women and minority groups: attitudes towards gender equality and LGBTQ people have become more favourable in numerous OECD countries in the period between 2008 and 2018, and
the employment gaps between men and women and between older and prime-age workers have decreased by at least 25% between 2007 and 2017.
Nonetheless, the Covid-19 epidemic has significantly affected minority groups in the labour market. Their forms of employment are often more unstable, and in some cases, they have been left without any or with weak access to social protection.
The report highlighted the importance of the way diversity is dealt with, suggesting that a positive impact of diversity is stronger in firms where diversity is better managed. This idea can be applied similarly at the societal level, but the situation is more complicated in that case. Various factors, such as differences in socioeconomic status, the level of inequality, and the lack of social interaction between groups can sometimes hinder social cohesion in the case of higher diversity.
OECD also measured the perceptions of the residents about their own countries, and
only a small majority of people (55%) believed that their neighbourhoods are good places for ethnic minorities, LGBT people, and immigrants to live in.
In 2008, South Korea ranked the lowest while Canada, Sweden, and Iceland offered the most favourable opportunities for disadvantaged groups. The most significant changes occurred in the countries that ranked below the OECD average, such as Hungary (the ratio of respondents agreeing that their city or area is a good place for minorities to live in dropped from approximately 55% to 12%), Poland (dropped from approximately 32% to 18%), and South Korea (increased from approximately 11% to 28%).
In terms of population diversity,
Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary were the OECD countries with the lowest rate of foreign-born population and native-born population with at least one foreign-born parent in 2017.
Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Switzerland, and Luxembourg had an 18.2−41.3% rate of foreign-born population.
In the case of immigration, research has shown that an increasing polarisation occurred between European countries in their attitudes towards migrants over the past decade. Meanwhile, attitudes have become more favourable in Germany, Norway, Portugal, and Spain, but countries such as Italy and Hungary were at the opposite end of the spectrum. Attitudes towards gender equality and LGBT people, however, have become more positive in the majority of OECD countries.