Ipsos Mori unveils new trends in refugee employment

Our annual Business Behind Refugees webinar had a record-breaking 180 participants from over 70 organisations, and included a presentation on the Ipsos and UNHCR World Refugee Day report: Public Attitudes Towards Refugees.


Breaking Barriers

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Our annual Business Behind Refugees webinar reached a milestone this year, with an impressive attendance of 180 participants from over 70 organisations. This record-breaking turnout highlights a growing commitment to supporting refugees in their pursuit of meaningful employment. The growing interest in this cause is further supported by data from the Ipsos and UNHCR World Refugee Day report: Public Attitudes Towards Refugees.

Trinh Tu, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos, presented the report, highlighting encouraging trends. The majority of the British public supports giving refugees access to the job market:

  • Global support for refugees remains strong, despite increased concerns about refugees’ motivations and impact. 73% of global survey participants believe people should be able to seek refuge in another country to escape war and persecution.
  • In the UK, 43% of survey participants support full access to the job market for refugees, 37% support limited access, and 12% believe no access should be granted.
  • Public and employee support for UK companies helping refugees is evident, with 49% of survey participants believing companies should take action, while 26% are neutral.

Watch the Webinar On-Demand

Missed the webinar? The full recording is available here. You’ll hear from Gabriel, who shares the personal challenges he faced in seeking meaningful employment in the UK. Louise Mahony from Linklaters and Charles Eales from Microsoft share their insights about the value of skills-based volunteering. Trinh Tu from Ipsos and Jessica White from LinkedIn discuss the necessity of skills-based hiring, its alignment with their social impact strategies, and its critical role in supporting refugees.

With Thanks to Our Expert Speakers:

  • Gabriel Murghulia – Breaking Barriers Lived Experience Panel Member
  • Trinh Tu – Managing Director, Public Affairs at Ipsos
  • Charles Eales – UK Social Impact Lead at Microsoft
  • Jessica White – Head of Social Impact, EMEA & LatAm at LinkedIn
  • Louise Mahony – Global Corporate Responsibility Senior Advisor at Linklaters


Q1: What are the retention rates for refugees employed through such programs, and how do you address turnover drivers in this population?

A: Various reports show that refugee employees often have higher retention rates compared to non-refugee employees. For instance, Tent’s research indicates that 73% of surveyed employers reported higher retention rates for refugees. At Breaking Barriers, we’ve observed higher retention rates with employers like IKEA.

Q2: How did the collaboration with Microsoft, Linklaters and Barclays come about? What are the benefits of this and do you look to form these types of partnerships to support with other aspects of your social impact programme?

A: (Answer from Charles Earles at Microsoft) At Microsoft we’re always looking for opportunities to partner with other organisations where there is synergy and where we can all bring different resources and expertise and have greater impact. We all wanted to support refugees and Jess and the team at Breaking Barriers did an amazing job realising there was an opportunity for us to work together with Breaking Barriers

A: (From Breaking Barriers) We are incredibly fortunate to have a strong and dedicated movement of Businesses Behind Refugees who are united to improve the lives of refugees in the UK through meaningful employment. We find this inspires collaboration and learning across our partners. We had started to partner with Barclays, and were having conversations with LinkedIn and then Microsoft. We realised we could collaborate across a variety of activities to maximise our impact. And it’s already helped us reach over 250 refugees across the UK.

Q3: How is Breaking Barriers addressing the needs of refugees outside of London?

A: Breaking Barriers delivers our employment services across the UK – London, Birmingham, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. This means we’re now working with key stakeholders such as local authorities, other refugee charities and employers across these locations.

Our services are in high demand and often oversubscribed. In terms of businesses, we’re always looking for more partners to support our work outside of London and employers with opportunities across the cities we work in – from skills-based volunteering to jobs and work placements.

Q4: What tangible steps can we take to address the political challenges faced by refugees in terms of taking up employment?

A: We have a few blogs that might help with this. Firstly, we recommend understanding the different jargon that’s used and how that is relevant for employment rights: Advocating for refugees at work: employment rights

Secondly, if you already employ people of a refugee background, it might be worth considering whether there are things that you can do to make your workplace more inclusive during times of conflict or humanitarian crises. For people of a refugee background, the toll can be large, yet their struggles often remain invisible in the workplace: Refuge Friendly Workplaces: Addressing the hidden impacts of global conflicts

Q5: In the construction industry we’ve heard employers offering paid work trials in place of interviews as this is better way to assess skills based knowledge. Could professional services employers like Microsoft, Linklaters do the same? Can individuals with a lived experience opt into this over traditional application and interview pathways?

A: Yes! We certainly encourage pathways into roles such as work placements, work experience, internships – great ways to bring in new talent and support them to build their confidence and integrate into a businesses with structured support. We’ve run these across professional services, retail, engineering – and can see them working well across all sectors and professions.



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