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France is slowly reversing its stance on Affirmative Action #france

France is an unusual country when it comes to its stance on race and religion.  In an effort to eliminate bias and discrimination on both sides, the country has outlawed the keeping of official statistics on race or religion. “Efforts to promote affirmative action, known here as "positive discrimination,” have proven controversial.“  Because of this, it’s hard to make the argument for or against systematic discrimination.

One government study has helped those in support of diversity, revealing that "a new government study….finds reducing job discrimination could boost France’s economy by a stunning $165 billion or more, about 7 percent of the country’s GDP.”  Currently there are over 200,000 jobs unfilled in the country.

That’s where Mozaik RH comes in.  Mozaik RH is “a French headhunter that seeks talent from the banlieues — France’s gritty, immigrant-heavy suburbs that are better known for crime than as incubators for future CEOs.”  They are not a charity and instead look to help underrepresented groups utilize their skills to obtain jobs in the private and public sector.

“Only recently have top universities begun to actively recruit students from the banlieues, although they use economic criteria rather than race or religion in the selection process. Leveling the job market is perhaps even more challenging. Studies show ethnic and religious minorities must send out many more resumes to land interviews than "traditional” candidates, and foreign last names and postal addresses can be major handicaps.“

Still it’s all about progress.  In 2014, France mandated that women make up at least 20% of board members on all publicly traded and state owned companies.  If these type of diversity mandates can be used to support potential employees from underrepresented backgrounds, perhaps France can help improve its job market.

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