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Monday, April 30, 2007

Ethnic minorities blocked from top jobs

Men from ethnic minorities in managerial and professional jobs earn up to 25% less than their white colleagues, new research claimed today.
Comparable payscales revealed that black African and Bangladeshi men were likely to face the greatest pay discrimination, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found.

While Indian men were the least likely to be discriminated against they were still earning less than white men doing the same job, the researchers discovered.

The levels of pay discrimination amongst ethnic minority men were revealed in one of six research reports into poverty among the UK's ethnic minority communities that were published by the foundation this morning.

Researchers also found that although educational qualifications boosted employment prospects for all minority ethnic people, it was minority ethnic men who followed professional or managerial career paths who were most likely to face pay discrimination.

The trend, described by researchers as a "pervasive feature of the British labour market", suggested the need for greater intervention to "combat persistent, widespread discrimination in the labour market," they said.

Ethnic minority women graduates also found it hard to climb the career ladder and employment prospects differed between the ethnic groups, researchers working on behalf of the foundation found.

Having a degree improved the job prospects of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women but they were less likely than Indian women and white women to obtain professional or managerial posts, it found.

Researchers discovered that Bangladeshi and Pakistani women were more likely to go to a local university because their families preferred them to live at home. This factor should be considered by universities when deciding which undergraduate courses to run, they recommended.

Employment prospects for all ethnic minority groups and sexes deteriorated when their religion was taken into account.

The foundation said "being a Muslim is associated with lower employment rates after ethnicity is taken into account." The discrimination also applied to white British Muslims, whose chances of finding a job were up to 20% less likely than those with no religion, it found.

The researchers accepted that links between religion and employment are "complex" but said: "There may be scope for policy initiatives in this area, such as employment agencies working with religious organisations."

Today's research reports revealed overall poverty figures for ethnic minority communities in the UK. The statistics showed that 40% of ethnic minority communities live in poverty - double the poverty rate of the white British communities - and are most likely to live in London, parts of the north and the Midlands than elsewhere in the UK. Half of all ethnic minority children in the UK live in poverty, the figures revealed.

Professor Kay Hampton, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, said the report showed an "invisible apartheid separating modern Britain".

"It is a sad fact that black Africans and Bangladeshis earn up to a quarter less than white men in similar positions. It is hard to fathom that in this day and age, a man with the right qualifications and skills is judged not on his abilities but on the colour of his skin.

"Equality is not just taking down no entry signs, its granting real people real opportunities in everything from health to employment," she said.[Link]

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