The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

Employment gap between white and BME staff is closing

The employment gap between white and black and ethnic minority (BME) workers is closing steadily, according to a report by the TUC.

The TUC report said the employment gap had narrowed by 2.2% over the past 10 years and now stands at 15.7%.

This comes despite recent criticism of government efforts to close the gap, with accusations that some specialist schemes were wound-up too soon.

The fastest area of growth in BME employment has been part-time work, with the number doing this more than doubling in 10 years. However, just 60.1% of BME people are in work, compared to 75.8% in the wider population.

Read more > BME
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Medical staff require training on intercultural awareness

Medical staff require professional interpreters and specific training on intercultural awareness, a new study published in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research suggests. The authors reveal that doctors are dissatisfied with the treatment they provide to their non-native patients, and that they cite cultural differences and language barriers as the key factors causing the disappointment with the level of care that they provide.

Birgit Babitsch from the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine in Germany, and co-workers from Berlin and the UK, gathered the results of questionnaires completed by doctors working in the internal medicine and gynaecology departments of three Berlin hospitals. The responses were then narrowed down to those relating to native Germans and those of Turkish origin and analysed in conjunction with the patients’ medical records. Over 2400 doctor questionnaires and corresponding patient records were finally analyzed.

The researchers found that doctors’ dissatisfaction with the patient-doctor relationship was much greater with regard to their Turkish patients. The two main reasons given were communication difficulties and the doctors’ perceptions that the Turkish patients did not always require urgent treatment. Around 20% of doctors were dissatisfied with the course of treatment for Turkish patients, compared to 10% for German patients. Minor differences were found in doctors’ satisfaction with regard to the patient’s gender.

Dr Babitsch states: “The use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.”

Read more > EurekAlert
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Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool


An official UK event for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008


intercultural cities

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"Cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing human rights


cultural sensitivity


A "cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing figures in authority, including police, teachers and social services, from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting certain ethnic minority communities, David Cameron warned yesterday.

In his strongest attack on multiculturalism, which he said had created a "cultural apartheid" by allowing communities to lead separate lives, the Conservative leader claimed that society was caving in to "extreme elements" who should be sidelined. Cameron cited two examples:

· authorities often turn a blind eye to forced marriages - schools in Derby have recently refused to put up posters about the issue - amid fears that they might be perceived as racists;

· Victoria Climbié, the eight-year-old who was tortured to death by her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend, was not properly protected by social services because they did not want to offend a family that had recently arrived in Britain.

Read more > Cameron 
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Punjabi is 4th most spoken language in Canada

Punjabi is the fourth most spoken language in Canada after English, French and Chinese, according to an official census.

While English and French are official languages, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Italian and Arabic are the most five most widely-spoken non-official languages in the country. Punjabi is also the 4th most spoken language in the Canadian Parliament.

According to the census by Statistics Canada in 2006, the most widely-spoken non-official language is Chinese (2.6 per cent of Canadians). It is followed by Punjabi (0.8 per cent), Spanish (0.7 per cent), Italian (0.6 per cent) and Arabic (0.5 per cent).

Read more > Canada
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