Ethnic Minorities Struggle for Job Market Equality

A study undertaken by the Resolution Foundation has found that those belonging to an ethnic minority background in the UK are more likely to receive lower pay than white people, as well as higher rates of unemployment and less likelihood of promotion.

Whilst the employment gap between the best and worst regions of the UK was 11%, the gap for the black, Asian and other ethnic minorities was at 26%.

The highest rate of ethnic minority employment was seen in Scotland (excluding Glasgow) whereas the highest rates of unemployment were found to be in the north-east of England, around Tyne and Wear, where only 52% of ethnic minorities were found to be employed.

The reason why this might be the case is likely down to lower skill sets, as well as single motherhood, according to the think-tank.

 Laura Gardiner, a senior research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The UK’s performance on jobs has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years, resulting in more people in work than ever before.

“But substantial weaknesses remain for certain groups, such as ethnic minority people, who have lower employment rates overall and experience even greater penalties in the worst-performing areas.

“Achieving full employment, which the chancellor is right to target, must involve addressing the issues that prevent ethnic minority groups from entering or staying in work, and ensuring they have an equal chance of securing a quality job, no matter where they live.

“The government needs to set the right economic conditions, alongside pulling the right policy levers that stimulate job creation and encourage people to join the workforce.

“The involvement of local partnerships in commissioning the successor to the Work Programme will be an early opportunity to ensure that the needs of ethnic minority groups are met.”

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “50 years after the Race Relations Act, this report suggests that ethnic minorities are still facing challenges in finding opportunities to enter and stay in work.

“We know from our recently published review of equality and human rights in the UK that, despite improvements in educational performance, people from almost every ethnic minority group suffered higher rates of unemployment and received lower pay than white workers.

“This is why the commission’s consistent view has been that the government needs to do more to address the hurdles that ethnic minorities face by putting in place a long-term strategy to achieve equality of opportunity regardless of race.”

The news comes despite a study from last June showing that people from ethnic backgrounds are doing better than ever before in educational achievements, with black African, Irish, Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi students all outperforming white students at GCSE’s.

Although those from ethnic minorities’ situations have steadily improved in the UK, the report suggests that there is still some way off to Britain being a truly racially egalitarian society within the workplace.  

Written By:

Daniel James


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