Janine Allis in Jordan on a mission trip with UNHCR.
© Australia for UNHCR/Yousef Alhariri
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Six reasons why you should hire refugees, by Janine Allis

There are big benefits to supporting and employing refugees.

As a person who employs thousands of people, I have seen the unique benefits hiring people from refugee backgrounds bring to businesses.

Companies like IKEA, H&M and UNIQLO are realising the benefits that come with employing refugees.

Here are six reasons why you should hire refugees in your business.  

1. Refugees are very hardworking  

Refugees are among the most incredible and hardworking people I’ve ever come across. 

From my experience, I would say that refugees are part of the backbone of the Australian workforce. 

Data from the University of Sydney has shown that refugee workers have higher levels of productivity compared to other workers at the same level.  

Janine Allis
© Supplied
Janine Allis is an Ambassador of the Leading Women Fund, aimed at engaging female professionals and change-makers to support refugee women and girls.

2. Refugees are incredibly resilient

Through no fault of their own, refugees have been separated from their communities, their jobs and their loved ones because of conflict, persecution or disaster.

Refugees have had to overcome the challenges that come with being uprooted from their homes. They come out of these challenges with new strength, determination and an appreciation for new opportunities.

3. You’ll be helping someone forge a new life for themselves

Refugees can face challenges when resettling in new countries. Language barriers, finding employment and disrupted education are just a few of the issues facing refugees when they resettle.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, only six per cent of refugees find work within six months of arriving in Australia.

When you hire a refugee, you are helping someone to build a new life for themselves and their family. 

Work also helps refugees forge new friendships and social connections, which is important because many refugees leave their friends behind when they’re forced to flee.

4. Refugees are part of diverse and connected communities

Hiring a refugee can help you access new markets.

Australia hosts almost 60,000 refugees. Most are from the Middle East, Africa or Asia. Recently refugees have come to Australia from Ukraine after fleeing the war.

Refugees are well connected to their home cultures, languages and diaspora, so you may be able to tap into new and diverse markets, which will help expand your clients and customer base.

5. Refugees bring unique skills to your workplace

I can tell you now, the refugees I’ve met are artists, they’re lawyers and doctors. They are businesspeople who had successful careers before being forced to flee.

Refugees bring diverse skills, experiences and perspectives from their home countries to Australia. This diversity can foster innovation and creativity.

6. Refugee workers tend to stick around for longer

Staff turnover is one of the biggest challenges of running and building a strong, growing business, particularly after the pandemic.

If you hire a refugee, data suggests that they’ll hang around and work for you for longer. In a survey of 26 companies, 73 per cent reported lower staff turnover for refugee staff compared to staff with a non-refugee background.

About the author:

Janine Allis is the founder of Boost Juice and an Australia for UNHCR Ambassador. Janine supports our Leading Women Fund program, aimed at engaging women professionals and changemakers to support refugee women and girls.

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