Discrimination against women from ethnic minority groups is leading to a severe lack of diversity in the workplace, a group of MPs has claimed.

According to the BBC, a report from the all-party parliamentary group on race and community seen by the news provider claims that black and minority ethnic women face “catastrophic” levels of unemployment and are discriminated against at “every stage” of the recruitment process.

While unemployment has stayed high across the UK since the recession, the report claims that ethnic minority women have been disproportionately affected.

Labour MP David Lammy, the committee’s chairman, told the BBC: “There have been a lot of cuts to the public sector. Black and minority ethnic women have been traditionally employed in the public sector and are losing their jobs in droves at this time.

“They complain of struggling with no support around child care and around helping them to stay in work. Many are doing just casual employment, so the picture is bleak and depressing.”

Based on the examination of written and verbal evidence collected through the summer, the group of MPs claim that racial bias is holding some women back from getting a job.

The report cites numerous examples, including the case of one woman who said she had to change her Muslim-sounding name in order to secure more job interviews, while a black African woman said she was overlooked for a law-based job in favour of two less qualified white women, but then offered the job when the women were sacked for incompetence.

The full report from the all-party parliamentary group is due to be published this Friday (December 7th).

It follows a recent study commissioned by the strategic health authority NHS London which suggested that newly qualified nurses from ethnic minority backgrounds find it more difficult to find a job than their white counterparts.

Published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the study found that nurses from black African and Asian/Chinese ethnic groups were only half as likely to receive a job offer as those of white British origin, NursingTimes.net reported.