|Photo by Ahmed akacha:|
Just before World Refugee Day, 41 big companies have made a special promise. They have publicly promised to help more than 250,000 refugees in Europe find jobs, receive training, and make important connections for work opportunities.
Some of the companies making this pledge are Accenture, Adecco, Amazon, Cisco, Generali, Hilton, ISS, Marriott International, Microsoft, Randstad, Starbucks, and The Body Shop.
These promises will be carried out over the next three years. The companies have come together at a business summit in Paris, organized by the Tent Partnership for Refugees. This partnership includes over 300 companies from around the world who are dedicated to helping refugees who had to leave their home countries due to war and political persecution find stable jobs and integrate into new communities.
Trauma Survivors: You Are Not Alone
Refugees face immense challenges when they have to leave everything behind and escape danger, leaving loved ones behind. This situation causes physical, psychological, and financial pain that goes very deep. However, there is hope. Companies are stepping up to offer refugees a lifeline by providing them with jobs, which can bring stability and help them in many ways.
Having a job gives refugees a sense of stability and aids them both financially and socially. Margot Slattery, the global head of diversity and inclusion at ISS, a workplace facilities management company, explained that having money and a job allows refugees to regain some dignity and feel like they are contributing. It gives them a purpose in the morning and helps them integrate into their new community.
Having a job also means that refugees don’t have to solely rely on social safety net benefits provided by their new countries to survive. Equally important, it helps them stay connected with their families back home by providing the means to pay for mobile phones and internet services. They can stay in touch, send money, and even provide food parcels to their loved ones.
While the company pledges made on Monday apply to refugees of all nationalities, there is a special focus on Ukrainian refugees. Last year, their numbers exceeded 5 million due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, emphasized the importance of offering longer-term inclusion and hope to refugees through integration into the labor market, especially considering the EU’s welcoming stance towards millions of Ukrainians.
With these commitments from companies and the recognition of the challenges faced by refugees, there is a collective effort to provide support, opportunities, and a sense of hope for those who have had to start anew in unfamiliar lands.
Companies Show the World What’s Possible
This week, many companies have made new promises to support refugees in Europe. Some of these companies have already been hiring and training refugees over the past year.
For example, ISS has already hired 500 refugees, mostly Ukrainian women, since March last year. Now, they have pledged to hire another 1,000 refugees across their operations in Europe. They will also provide training and development opportunities to their refugee employees in all countries.
Several other companies are also planning to hire refugees directly. Amazon will hire at least 5,000 refugees, while Hilton and Marriott will each bring on 1,500 people. Teleperformance aims to onboard at least 500 refugees.
Additionally, companies like Adidas, Blackstone, BP, Hyatt, Ipsos, L’Oréal Group, Novartis, PepsiCo, Pfizer, and The Kraft Heinz Company have committed to hiring refugees as well.
Some companies have specific training commitments. Cisco, for instance, will offer programming and cybersecurity training in Ukrainian for 10,000 refugees. These refugees will then be connected to job opportunities across Cisco’s network through their Talent Bridge Matching Engine.
The pledges made on Monday are the largest set of commitments ever made by the Tent Partnership, which was founded in 2016.
However, it’s important to note that even with these efforts, helping 250,000 refugees is just a small fraction of those who require assistance. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are now nearly 35 million refugees worldwide, with over 12 million of them in Europe. These numbers don’t include the millions of forcibly displaced people who haven’t been granted refugee status.