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Zsuzsanna Arendas and Vera Messing on the Struggles of Roma in the Business Sector

Our Research Fellows, Zsuzsanna Arendas and Vera Messing summarized to Qubit the results of their research on what self-identified Roma workers with at least a high school diploma or a degree face in the for-profit sector.

There are some good examples, for example, some companies specifically support the recruitment of Roma workers. Vera Messing talked about the HR manager of a bank who said that they "hired a Roma guy who was given the opportunity to study at university while working and was also given a mentoring role to help create a protected environment for the Roma employees hired by the company."

However, in most companies, diversity policies do not apply to Roma, and differences due to their situation are often interpreted as a deficiency. "There is a culture of diversity in multinationals in Hungary, but Roma are not part of it. The focus is more on LGBTQ+ or disabled people, women, the elderly,” Zsuzsanna Arendas said, adding that "the HR policy of companies is basically determined by the HR policy of the parent company, and if diversity is important for the parent company, it is adopted here, but not adapted to the domestic situation."

If, despite all the obstacles, a young Roma person still manages to find a foothold in the world of multinationals, they also have to face an identity crisis or identity limbo. A good proportion of Roma feel that a career that could provide a comfortable existence is not compatible with embracing their Roma identity. "The majority are careful not to thematize this or to raise it only very cautiously and in a very protected situation," said Vera Messing.

Roma employees also has to face discrimination. “Prejudice was present throughout their school careers, and those who had previous work experience also reported many discriminatory experiences, which encouraged them not to expose it," Zsuzsanna Arendas argued.

Read the full article (in Hungarian) here.

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