Those who have conquered the fight against cancer and want to return to work face discrimination. This is evident from a study led by Stijn Baert (UGent). “Having a hole in your CV as a result of cancer is more harmful than being 10 years old.”
A person who has been unable to work for a while due to his battle with cancer is less likely to be hired afterward for a job application. “ Especially the fear of those who have had a cancer experience falling ill again is crucial to fewer opportunities to apply for a job, ” says recruiting expert Stijn Baert (UGent), who has just led a study on the topic. “While discrimination on the basis of health status has been prohibited in Flanders since 2007.”
A person who has been unable to work for a while due to his battle with cancer is less likely to be hired afterward for a job application. “ Especially the fear of those who have had a cancer experience falling ill again is crucial to fewer opportunities to apply for a job, ” says recruiting expert Stijn Baert (UGent), who has just led a study on the topic. “While discrimination on the basis of health status has been prohibited in Flanders since 2007.” Everyone knows someone who has cancer. Fortunately, the risk of death is decreasing due to better examination and treatment. More and more people diagnosed with cancer are surviving the disease. “This means that increasingly larger groups of cancer survivors are returning to the job market,” says Adelena Sharipova, who worked on the study with Philip Stirkins, Ralph Caires and Marijky De Kock. “This comeback is not always easy.” Previous research shows that the average return to the workplace after surviving cancer is about 60 percent. It turns out that not everyone has the same chance of a successful comeback. For example, women, people who have to do strenuous physical work and those with low skills have less chance. Moreover, the returnees’ further career path appears not to be progressing well. Cancer patients often report that they are physically weaker than they were before their disease. In other words, self-image isn’t always great. “It also turns out that this has a foundation of truth,” says Philip Stirkins. “Studies show that they sometimes perform less, and are less productive.” Additionally, there is also a perception of the outside world. We are talking about discrimination by employer who is recruiting. “The latter has never been scientifically researched,” says Burt. Our research is the first of its kind worldwide to look at the extent to which employers are responsible for harm to former cancer patients. And above all: what stigma can explain this dependency? The Ghent study, funded by Kom op tegen Kanker, showed that former cancer patients formally qualified for a job have a 76 percent chance of being called for an interview if their CV states a hiatus due to cancer. Job applicants without work interruption have an 80 percent chance of being interviewed. “This difference of 4 percentage points is significant and big,” says Stirkins. Burt: “Research also shows that every year you get older you have a 0.3 percentage point less chance of receiving an interview invitation. So having a hole in your cancer CV is more harmful than getting 10 years old. Or to put it into perspective. Else: If you state that you are interested in cultural activities, you have a 3 percentage point higher chance of getting a job interview, 4% post-volunteering. The opposite effect after cancer has the same size in terms of size. ”So there is a clear distinction when applying for a job after cancer treatment. . But there are other factors that can argue against a candidate. “The chance of having a conversation after working out of cancer due to cancer is higher than if you mentioned, for example,” for family reasons, “says Stirkins. Then you only have a 73% chance. Those who don’t state a reason for stopping work have only a 69 percent chance of a job interview, And those who report depression are 67 percent. So these work interruptions are more harmful than interruptions due to cancer. Bert: “It goes without saying that the opportunity to do a job interview based on a previous experience with cancer is illegal. It is often thought that discrimination exists only on The basis of gender or race, but this is not the case: there is also discrimination on the basis of health status. This also means that in practical tests to determine whether there is discrimination, not only sexual and exotic names must be taken into account, but also health. Why are survivors discriminated against. This is also revealed by the experimental research. Sharipova: “It is estimated that those who experience cancer experience less physical strength. It is believed that adjustments in work organization, for example more flexible hours, have to be made. Or that changes to the work ground are needed. , Like private office furniture The main concern is that they will be sicker in the future. According to the study, the estimated chance of a new discontinuation appears to be 47 percent for those who dropped out earlier due to cancer. For those who have previously experienced work interruptions for family reasons or without an explanation, the chance of this happening is estimated to be lower – 41 and 42 per cent, respectively. For those who drop out early due to depression, the chance is 51%. Burt: This finding reminds us of previous research on gender discrimination. Usually, a woman’s deprivation appears to be linked to a fear of losing a pregnancy. Employers also find this valuable. Not everything is negative. An employer often views a former job-seeking cancer patient positively, Sharipova says: “ Someone who beat cancer and wanted to return to work was found to be particularly motivated, our research shows. They also score better than others who have a gap in their CV in terms of flexibility and resistance to stress. The employer sometimes justifies that such employment will improve the work culture. Other notable results from the study: a cancer trial is less harmful to male applicants, or if a woman decides who to recruit, or if a person decides they have cancer himself. But while physical exercise and volunteering are usually additional benefits when applying for a job, this is not the case for former cancer patients. Sterkens: “It also means that it is not enough that you write in your CV that you are doing too much to show that you are completely fit again. You have to refer to this more directly, for example with the doctor’s statement. This research shows that in this case You will benefit from being open about the cause of the gap in your CV. ”Make sure to explain reassuring findings about your health stability. That way you anticipate the main reason for discrimination when applying for a job. In any case, it is not desirable from a legal and moral point of view at least for former cancer patients to be disenfranchised. On the job market.