Black students get good grades but not the jobs

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The Independent Online

Young black men are achieving better education qualifications than young white men, but still cannot get jobs, according to a national report.

Young black men are achieving better education qualifications than young white men, but still cannot get jobs, according to a national report.

And young black men with the same qualifications as their white counterparts are twice as likely to be unemployed, the findings, published today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, show.

Men from all ethnic minority groups were more likely to stay on at school after the minimum leaving age than white teenagers. Fifty-two per cent of men of African origin and 43 per cent of men of Caribbean origin achieved qualifications at A-level or higher, compared with only 40 per cent of white men.

Men and women of African origin were more likely to stay on at college at the age of 20, with three times as many doing so compared with whites. People of Indian origin were the most likely to stay on, with 57 per cent going on to higher education.

The report's author, Professor Richard Berthoud, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, said: "Young men of African origin are especially likely to stay on in education and obtain good qualifications - yet their chances of unemployment are higher than for any other group."

The report shows that over the past ten years young men of Indian origin have started to get jobs and achieve earnings similar to their white counterparts, but the picture is very different for men of Caribbean and African origin. The study of more than 30,000 young men aged 16 to 39 showed that education and better qualifications, believed to be the key to equality, have failed to remove the disadvantages black men face in the workplace.

Professor Berthoud said: "Many commentators have put faith in the potential of education to tackle ethnic disadvantage in the jobs market. Although their faith appears justified in the case of young men of Indian origin, the Caribbean and African communities have clearly not benefited in the same way.

"There is no hint from the research that employment disadvantage among young Caribbean men is a temporary phenomenon. It applies to young people who have been born in Britain, raised and educated here - and unemployed here. It is very worrying and will not go away until something is done about it."

Only one in eight white men in their 20s was unemployed but the proportion was as high as one in three among young African men. Indian men experienced almost the same rate of unemployment as white men, while men of Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin experienced almost as much unemployment as Africans. "One of the explanations must be racial discrimination," said Professor Berthoud.

Those in work were found to be earning less. Young white men were the best paid, averaging £332 per week. Although Indians earned 99 per cent of their white counterparts' pay, Caribbeans and Africans earned only 65 per cent.

Overall, Caribbean men were £115 a week worse off than whites. Of this, the researchers calculated, £76 was because they had a higher rate of unemployment, £19 because the jobs they obtained were slightly lower in status, and £20 because the income they received in such occupations was lower.