Ethnic minority workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population, according to new figures.
In its first annual report, the Government Task Force on ethnic minority employment also said that ethnic minorities earn less than white workers.
The ethnic minority employment rate is 59.4 per cent compared with 74.9 per cent for the overall population, the report said. Work minister Jane Kennedy said the figures were "shocking".
The statsitics showed a slight increase of 1.4 per cent in ethnic minority employment Ð largely due to an increase in ethnic minority women finding work.
Average weekly earnings included £376 for white people, £347 for ethnic minorities, £235 for Bangladeshis and £373 for Indians.
Kennedy said: "A lot more needs to be done to realise the potential of those from an ethnic minority background. These statistics are shocking and that is why this cross-government taskforce has been created and is committed to bringing about change."
But to achieve that, she said, the support of "employers nationwide" was needed.