Employment rates of BAME employees Jul-Sep 2016 - ONS labour force statistics

The Office for National Statistics has published latest UK labour market statistics for the period July – September 2016, including employment levels by ethnic group.

The decline in employment for BAME women and for Bangladeshi and Chinese ethnic groups shows that not all BAME people are able to find employment equally. Employers need to address this by ensuring fair and inclusive recruitment processes.

There remains a question over whether BAME people being hired for full-time jobs with opportunities for career progression or development, or for part-time, temporary or zero-hours contract roles, which are likely to be insecure and low-paid?

- Sandra Kerr OBE,
Race Equality Director

Key points on employment of BAME workers include:  

  • BAME employment rate rising faster than white employment rate. The BAME employment rate is now 64.5% (compared to 63.9% in Apr-Jun 2016 and 63.7% in Jul-Sep 2015) and the white employment rate is 76.3% (compared to 75.9% in Apr-Jun 2016 and 75.6% in Jul-Sep 2015)
  • But increase in employment not consistent across ethnic groups. The Mixed and Indian ethnic groups had the biggest rise in employment, but employment dropped for Chinese and Bangladeshi ethnic groups.
  • Employment rates for BAME women have dropped overall, with the biggest decline for Bangladeshi and Chinese women.
  • BAME unemployment rate is down (to 8.5% compared to 10.2% in Jul-Sep 2015) but BAME people almost twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts (white unemployment rate is 4.6%). The biggest unemployment rate drops were for Mixed and Chinese men but unemployment has increased for BAME women overall, with the biggest increases for Mixed, Indian and Bangladeshi women.

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, said: “The good news from today’s figures show that BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) employment rates are on the increase year on year and rising faster than White employment rates. This rise in the BAME employment rate needs to continue to speed up and that progress needs to be sustained if we are ever going to close the persistent unemployment rate gap between White and Non-White workers.

“However, behind the headlines there is a different story - the decline in employment for BAME women and for Bangladeshi and Chinese ethnic groups shows that not all BAME people are able to find employment equally. Employers need to address this by ensuring fair and inclusive recruitment processes, including using a wide range of recruitment materials, diverse interview panels wherever possible and monitoring BAME candidates’ progress at each stage.

“It will also be interesting to look at the next round of data in the New Year to assess both the impact of Brexit and the possibility of seasonal employment. Are BAME people being hired for full-time jobs with opportunities for career progression or development, or for part-time, temporary or zero-hours contract roles, which are likely to be insecure and low-paid?

"Employers must eradicate disproportionate levels of BAME under-employment - people working part-time would want to work full-time and people working within an organisation at much lower levels than their education, skills and abilities. There is also the ongoing challenge of pay gaps to close – be they gender, age or ethnicity. Otherwise, employers risk missing out on not only the widest pool of talent, but also on benefits to their bottom line that increased diversity of background, experience and perspectives in an organisation brings. McKinsey Diversity Matters research shows better financial results for those with gender diversity and for those with ethnic diversity in their teams.”

 

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