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We should pride Britain on a diverse and equal labour force


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A new study from the University of Oxford Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College has found that minority ethnic Britons are facing "shocking job discrimination".

Within the new study, it was found that applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds had to send 80% more applications to receive a response to a position compared to someone who was white or "British" in their origin.

Funded by the EU, the researchers sent 3,000 applications from over 30 different minority groups to a variety of jobs advertised between 2016 and 2017. In total 24% of the applicants, whom were of white British origin, received a positive response. This is compared to a figure of just 15% for minority groups even though CVs and cover letters used in the process were completely identical.

Perhaps what is most inexcusable in relation to these findings is how a similar study from 1969 by the same researchers shows the same covertly racist trends. This proves that racial employment legislation has been virtually ineffective in helping Britain move forward in equality, discrimination within employment opportunity has remained unchanged for over 50 years, which is a seriously worrying prospect.

Heath, co-author and emeritus fellow of Nuffield College, told the Guardian that "the absence of any real decline in discrimination against black British and people of Pakistani background is a disturbing finding which calls into question the effectiveness of previous policies. Ethnic equality remains an important injustice and there needs to be a radical rethink about how to tackle it".

Image Credit: Sam// Flickr

It's hard to swallow that in this modern day, whilst the fight for equality is still so integral to society in Britain, that this blatant racism still operates. The legislation prohibiting discrimination in the workplace clearly lacks focus on this underhand bias. While some could argue these figures as "unconscious bias", I think it's clear this "unconscious bias" is just inherent racism. Minorities having to send at least 60% more applications to receive offers compared to that of a white British individual is unjust and implies entrenched racial bias still exists in Britain, 50 years on from the first study.

Britain still has lengths to achieve in regards to its move towards equality in employment opportunities. The Oxford study firmly presents that legislation to protect adequately skilled and able minority workers as failing. Stronger laws seem to be in requirement to address the "employer stereotypes" surrounding the capability of workers, but in every occupational group and industry sector.

There also clearly needs to work done in changing attitudes of the root causes to the problem, the employers and selection processes. The government needs to look at why these stereotypes still exist today, and why it seems Britain's movement into equality has not reached the workplace. 

Transparency on which companies and sectors are the worst for not giving responses to minorities as equally qualified as white British applicants would also be key. The racism displayed through the figures is clearly deep-rooted and purely bias making it difficult to pinpoint individual attitudes.

The study highlighted groups, including Pakistanis, that had seen the least change since the 1969 study in positive applicant response. Findings suggest employers inexcusably are more likely to discriminate against particular ethnicities more so than others.

Most importantly to take from these study findings is the magnitude of work still required to combat the employment opportunity inequality so many citizens here face. We should be priding Britain on a diverse and equal labour force, one that reflects the array of ethnic groups and minorities that make up British citizens collectively.

 Lead Image Credit: Sam// Flickr

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