Black students find it harder to gain employment and are likely to earn less than their white counterparts after graduating from university, new figures reveal.

According to unpublished material from the Higher Education Statistics Authority, just four out of ten black students are in full-time employment six months after leaving university, the Independent reports.

The figures reveal that black students are 30 per cent less likely to be employed than their white counterparts.

It follows the publication of a new report suggesting that young black graduates still face considerable racial discrimination in the workplace.

The report, from employment charity Elevation Networks and the think-tank the Bow Group claims that black graduates are expected to earn up to nine per cent less than their white colleagues for the same work within five years of leaving university.

It also suggests that a perceived lack of race equality in the workplace is leading to increased pessimism and lowered expectations among black students.

Researchers found that 60 per cent of black students do not expect to be in work within six months of graduating and that 68 per cent expect to be earning less than £25,000 in their first graduate role.

Just under half (47 per cent) of black undergraduates believe government departments discriminate against black students in their employment policies, while many also feel they would face considerable discrimination when attempting to pursue a career in the legal services (38 per cent), media (32 per cent) and financial services industries (31 per cent).

The report calls on the government to develop a coherent strategy to help tackle inequality of opportunity in education and among graduates.

“It is certainly the perception of black undergraduates that both the civil service and major graduate employers in the private sector are discriminating against them at entry level,” said Richard Mabey, research secretary at the Bow Group.

“Alongside enterprise and the third sector, government has a role to play in changing attitudes and creating the necessary conditions for all students to achieve their potential, irrespective of race.”