Monday, February 01, 2016

Our Divided World

The pay gap faced by black workers widens the more qualifications they obtain, according to research. Black graduates leaving university earn an average of 23 per cent less than their white counterparts, analysis shows.

The 23 per cent chasm revealed between the earnings of black and white graduates represents a difference of £4.30 an hour. The pay gap is 14.3 per cent for those with A-levels – or £1.65 an hour – and 11.4 per cent for GCSE-qualified workers (£1.18 an hour). For unqualified workers, who are more likely to be in jobs at or close to the minimum wage, the figures for black and white workers are virtually equal. When all ethnic minority workers (not just black) are included in the pay comparison there is still a gap of 10.3 per cent for graduates but it is wider (17 per cent) at A-level.

Omar Khan, director of the the Runnymede Trust, said:  “This suggests that education alone will do little to address racial inequalities, and the need for interventions that directly challenge racial inequalities in the workplace.”

Malia Bouattia, black students’ officer at the National Union of Students, said: “It starts the second a black child enters the education system where you see an attainment gap, a lack of diversity amongst teaching staff. You are entering a space that rejects you in many ways and then it sends you into a workspace where you hardly find anyone in positions of leadership who really looks like you. If you’re white you hit the ground running, you have the skills and know how to do a job as it should be done. If you’re black you are disadvantaged in every respect.”

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “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.”

Last year the recruitment consultancy Green Park Group found that the number of all-white boards in the FTSE 100 actually increased to 62 in 2015, from 61 the previous year.  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.

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