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BAME workers a third more likely to be underemployed


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Underemployment – when people want to work more hours but aren’t able to get them, are highly skilled but are working in low paid jobs, or are highly skilled but working in low skills jobs – is a big problem in Britain right now.

But, according to a new Trades Union Congress (TUC) report using ONS figures, the problem gets much worse if you’re black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME).

The research shows that BAME workers are a third more likely to be underemployed than white workers, with BAME workers facing an underemployment rate of 15.3% compared to 11.5% for white workers.

Office workers drink tea and coffee,
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

If BAME workers faced the same rate as white workers 110,000 people would be lifted out of underemployment, according to the TUC.

“Underemployment is a major problem in the UK, and it only gets worse if you’re black, Asian, or part of any ethnic minority. This is not only wrong, but a massive waste of talent too,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

“We know this is part of a much bigger story. BAME workers are more likely to be unemployed, paid less, and aren’t getting enough of the top jobs.

“Employers and the government cannot afford to ignore these problems. They must now take real action to tackle underemployment and pay discrimination.”

A view of the Jobcentre Plus office in Lisson Grove
(Nick Ansell/PA)

The findings were submitted as part of the McGregor-Smith Government review into “developing black and minority ethnic talent”.

The TUC is calling on the Government to develop a “comprehensive race equality strategy”, while also calling on employers to use standardised, anonymous application forms to eliminate bias.

TUC’s findings come just a week after the Equality and Human Rights Commission found BAME workers suffer higher rates of unemployment, lower pay, and are under-represented in senior roles.

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