Employers discriminate against Bangladeshi, Pakistani and black African applicants on jobs and salaries

Ethnic minority groups in the UK are being overlooked for jobs and are being paid lower wages, according to research.

A report published by social policy research and development charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that only 20% of Bangladeshi origin, 30% of Pakistani, and 40% of black African of working age are employed full-time, compared with more than half of white British people.

The report said: “All the evidence suggests that employer discrimination exists and plays a significant role in the ‘ethnic penalty’ experienced by members of minority ethnic groups.”

Moreover, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that despite improvements in education and qualifications, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men who held university degrees were less likely to be employed than their white counterparts.

And for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women going to university, the report said: “They suffer high unemployment and are much less likely than Indian or white British women to be in professional or managerial jobs.”

The foundation points to differences between minority ethnic groups, with 65% of Bangladeshis living in poverty, compared with 55% of Pakistanis, 45% of black Africans, and 30% of Indians and of black Caribbeans.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation director Julia Unwin said: “Although the past decade has seen some improvements, there are still some very serious problems which remain unsolved. We need an urgent rethink from government and employers, so that minority ethnic groups do not miss out on opportunities in the workplace and higher educational attainment is properly recognised.”

The study concludes that:

  • Employment policies need to tackle discrimination and support job retention and progression

  • Income maintenance policies need a greater focus on the take-up of benefits among those eligible

  • Analysis of income at the household level could effectively inform and monitor policy on minority ethnic groups’ poverty risks

  • Analysis of the different and complex routes into poverty for different ethnic groups is needed, and research into whether the experience of poverty means different things to different groups.

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