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Discrimination Cuts Job Opportunities for Jews in Chicago

Jewish job applicants in Chicago have “less than half” the chance of non-Jews to be placed by employment agencies, according to a survey conducted here by the Chicago Bureau of Jewish Employment problems. A study of the experiences of 5,582 applicants to a commercial employment agency disclosed that while 20 of every 100 Protestant applicants were placed, only nine of every 100 Jewish applicants were eventually placed by the same agency.

The study, made in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, is a follow-up of a 1954 survey by the Bureau which showed that 27 percent of 4,000 Chicago employers excluded Jews from consideration when placing job orders with employment agencies. The Bureau is a service agency sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee.

Comparing the placement opportunities of the various religious groups: Protestants, representing 38.3 percent of all applicants, received 46.3 percent of all placements; Catholics, who constituted 37 percent of the applicants, received 39.2 percent of the placements; Jews, making up 16.2 percent of the job seekers, received only 9.2 percent of placements. A group of 6.8 percent who did not state religious affiliation, but were believed to include many Jews, were limited to only 3.1 percent of the placements.

That substantially less than half a loaf was available to Jews is, the Bureau concluded, directly attributable to discrimination. It buttressed this contention by emphasizing that a detailed analysis of the background characteristics of the applicant group indicated that there was little variation between the religious groups in such attributes as age, education, vocational goals or length of experience. Another finding of the study was that “nationality proved to be a factor of lesser importance, used by employers on a discriminatory basis to some degree, but largely disregarded in the selection process by the employment agency.”

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