U.K.: Minority Workers Paid Less, More Likely to Be Unemployed, Study Finds

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By Rick Vollmar

April 21—Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers are two times more likely to be unemployed than white workers, and those with degrees are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than similarly credentialed white workers, according to a report released April 15 by the Trades Union Congress.

“The harsh reality is that even now black and Asian people, regardless of their qualifications and experience, are far more likely to be unemployed and lower paid than white people,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said in the press release announcing the study. “Not only is this wrong, but it is a huge waste of talent. Companies that only recruit from a narrow base are missing out on the wide range of experiences on offer from Britain’s many different communities.”

Pay Gap Also Persists

In a related study released in February, the TUC found that black employees earn on average 12.8 percent less than their white colleagues and black workers with degrees earn 23.1 percent less than similarly credentialed white workers. Looking at credentialed black, Asian and minority ethic workers as a group, the pay gap is 10.3 percent in favor of similarly qualified white workers.

“These are very worrying findings,” O’Grady said. “Black and Asian people face a massive pay gap, even if they have a degree. This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages ethnic minority workers face in the U.K. . . . Even today race still plays a huge role in determining pay.”

According to Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust, an independent race equality think tank, the TUC findings suggest “that education alone will do little to address racial inequalities” and that there is a “need for interventions that directly challenge racial inequalities in the workplace.”

Government Action Called for

The TUC is calling on the government to, among other things, develop a “race equality strategy with clear targets and adequate resourcing” and to “encourage all employers to monitor the recruitment process for discrimination against BAME applicants.”

“The government’s taskforce on racism must make it harder for discriminating employers to get away with their prejudices,” O'Grady said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

For More Information

The TUC study on unemployment is available here, the press release here. The TUC press release on pay discrimination is here .

For more information on British HR law and regulation, see the U.K. primer.