The employment prospects of some of the UK's ethnic minorities have failed to improve and may well have declined markedly since the 1970s, according to research.
A study by research professors at both Manchester and Oxford universities found that minority ethnic groups had a much harder chance of finding work as their white counterparts, and that employment for ethnics had got worse since the 1970s. The news comes as the number of people out of work grew to 1.86 million in the three months to October – up 137,000 from the three months to July.
Anthony Heath, a professor at the University of Oxford, called on the government to do more to improve employment for ethnic minorities: “Previous government attempts to use legislation have failed to narrow the gap, although the proposals in the Queen's Speech this month may offer some hope of progress.”
The data also found that minority groups suffered disproportionately from unemployment during periods of recession.
Yaojun Li, a professor at the University of Manchester, said: “Black Caribbean, black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men have fallen well behind their white counterparts.”
He added: “The socio-economic position of the minority ethnic groups affects not only their own wellbeing, but the future status of the country as a major player in an ever-increasing globalised world.”
The research was carried out using government survey data over a 30-year period in a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It found that black Africans were the most likely to face unemployment and inactivity, especially during the mid 1980s and the early 1990s.