Stories of our impact

Challenging perceptions, changing lives

Matching refugees with potential employers

Worldwide, a record 68.5 million people have fled their homes because of conflict or persecution – that’s around 44,000 individuals displaced daily.

The latest United Nations figures, which include more than 25 million refugees, point to one of the biggest global challenges of today.

With traditional humanitarian support severely tested, there’s increasing pressure for host nations to support and integrate displaced people in sustainable and meaningful ways. This involves looking beyond labels to acknowledge a wealth of untapped talent.

A potential paradox

More than six million people have fled Syria since civil war broke out in March 2011 – along with Afghanistan and South Sudan, it accounts for 57 per cent of all refugees.

68.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide

25.4 million refugees

3.1 million asylum seekers

UN Refugee Agency, 2018

As part of new research carried out with the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, we surveyed 305 Syrians building new lives in Austria, the Netherlands and the UK to understand the difficulties they face. We also sought the views of businesses in those countries.

A report, Talent displaced: the economic lives of Syrian refugees in Europe, was published in November and reveals something of a paradox. A significant proportion of those interviewed were highly educated – 38 percent went to university and a third had skilled roles or worked in professional services in their home country. However, 82 percent were unemployed and experienced barriers when looking for jobs.

The study also suggested that technology solutions can create opportunities by giving displaced people access, for instance, to work, training and language skills development.

“We are helping to identify and address challenges refugees face as they seek work and become part of their communities, while also showing how refugees are positive contributors to their new society. The more we can do to inform public opinion, policy and actions, the more people and communities we can help.”

Jacques Buith, Deloitte Global Lead Partner for the United Nations

Building brighter futures

One solution to unlocking this economic potential is FuturesHub, an online platform that connects people with employers, educational opportunities and mentors. It was created by a team spanning Deloitte North West Europe, Deloitte Austria and Deloitte Global.

A number of refugees were involved in the development, taking part in focus groups to make sure the technology was tailored to their needs. We also tested the platform’s mentoring facility by pairing people with Deloitte colleagues, whose one-to-one assistance helped to secure job opportunities, housing and friendships. Across the research study and FuturesHub development, over 180 Deloitte professionals were involved through pro bono and volunteering.

“Refugees have aspirations and skills to offer,” says Deloitte’s Global Lead Partner for the United Nations Jacques Buith. “They need appropriate support structures that empower them as human beings rather than label them.”

Jacques continues: “In times of crisis, it’s important that Deloitte sets an example for how the corporate sector can contribute. Our team did just that, mobilising people and resources to help refugees secure a more dignified future.”

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