Black workers’ pay gap in UK ‘widens with qualifications’


Black workers face a massive pay gap that widens as they achieve more qualifications, according to research revealing the challenges faced by ethnic minority UK workers pursuing professional careers.

The research conducted by the Trades Union Congress suggested there was a 23 percent gap in hourly pay between black and white university graduates. Black people with A-levels were paid 14 percent less on average than white workers with equivalent qualifications, while those with GCSEs faced a deficit of 11 percent.

TUC analysed figures from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey and found that black graduates leaving university earn an average of 23 percent less than white graduates, a difference of £4.30 an hour.

Staff from all ethnic minority backgrounds faced a 10 percent pay deficit at degree level, rising to 17 percent for those with A-levels alone.

The recruiter also found an “alarming” decline amongst its “pipeline” top-100 leaders, with the index losing the equivalent of nearly 40 non-white leaders in 12 months.

The TUC is calling on the Government “urgently to develop a race equality strategy as a matter of political priority, with clear targets and adequate resourcing”, the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, told the Independent.

“These are very worrying findings. 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 UK.”

At the weekend, the prime minister warned educational institutions, the police, the military and the courts they were the focus of a new effort to tackle social inequality fuelled by “ingrained, institutional and insidious” racism.

“There are no black generals in our Armed Forces and just 4 per cent of chief executives in the FTSE 100 are from ethnic minorities,” the Prime Minister said.

“Are these just the symptoms of class divisions or a lack of equal opportunity? Or is it something worse – something more ingrained, institutional and insidious?”

As part of Mr Cameron’s new drive against discrimination, universities have been summoned to a meeting with the Business Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss the plan to force them to publish detailed breakdowns of application success rates by race as well as course, gender and socio-economic background.

About Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.
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