Black, Asian and minority ethnic millennials at greater risk of unstable employment, finds study

They are also 10 per cent more likely to be working a second job 

Sophie Gallagher
Monday 02 March 2020 10:39
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Millennials from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are 47 per cent more likely to be on a zero-hours contract, compared to their white peers.

They are also 10 per cent more likely to be working a second job and 58 per cent more likely to be unemployed, according to a new report from the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Carnegie UK Trust, and Operation Black Vote.

BAME millennials are also 5 per cent more likely to be doing shift work, and are 4 per cent less likely to have a permanent contract.

The findings held even when other factors that could affect labour market success were taken into account, including gender, family background and educational attainment.

The new report was launched on Monday in Parliament, where the authors called on the government and employers to take action to address racial inequalities in work.

The research is based on more than 7,700 people in England born between 1989-1990.

It compared the employment status of 25-year-olds from different ethnic backgrounds; white, mixed race, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean, Black African and others.

Although all BAME workers had more trouble than their white peers at finding stable employment, there were variations between ethnicities.

For instance, Pakistani millennials were more likely to be on a zero-hours contract or be working shifts, and less likely to have a permanent job than their white peers.

However, Indian and Black Caribbean workers were no more likely than their white counterparts to be in these types of employment.

Only Black Caribbean 25-year-olds were more likely than their white peers to be working a second job.

Even though ethnic minority groups faced more challenges in the labour market, the overwhelming majority of millennials were in permanent employment by the age of 25.

Indian and white workers (89 per cent) were the most likely to be in a stable role, followed by mixed-race (87 per cent), Black Caribbean (86 per cent), Bangladeshi (85 per cent), Pakistani (84 per cent), Black African (81 per cent) and other ethnicities (80 per cent).

But unfavourable employment status was found to be linked to poor mental health. The connection between employment status and mental health held even when researchers considered whether the participants had mental health problems in their teenage years.

Lord Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote said: “This report must be a serious wake up call for the government, industry and our mental health practitioners.

"The race penalty in the workspace is further exacerbated by mental health issues. It’s a double hit if you’re from a BAME community. We can, however, turn this around, but we need collective leadership.”

The report outlines 13 recommendations for action, including employers carrying out internal race audits, and developing guidance for mental health services on access for minority groups.

A 2019 study found nearly a third of employed adults have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace.

Job and recruitment website Glassdoor recently released its Diversity and Inclusion Study 2019, investigated the extent to which discrimination occurs in a work environment with more than 5,000 adults in the US, UK, France and Germany.

According to the survey’s findings, 31 per cent of employed adults in the UK have experienced or witnessed racism at work, a quarter have experienced or witnessed discrimination over sexual orientation or identity, and more than a third have experienced or witnessed gender discrimination.

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