ISER research finds that ethnic minority workers are most likely to be the lowest paid in the lowest paid jobs

ISER´s Dr Malcolm Brynin and Dr Simonetta Longhi analysed data on over 80 occupations to pinpoint different situations that ethnic minority groups typically face in employment compared to White ethnic groups, focusing on their work choices. Does it affect ethnic minority workers’ well-being if they tend to enter certain employment sectors rather than others? Do they enter low-paid jobs, or is the problem that they receive relatively low pay whatever jobs they enter? Which sectors offer the best wages and are ethnic minority groups well represented in these? Finally, what factors are associated with these occupational choices?

Their analysis showed that:

• Ethnic minority workers are more likely than White employees to receive less than the living wage, though less so for ethnic minority women than men

• Although the wage gap relative to White employees is limited within occupations, ethnic minority employees tend to be concentrated in low-paying ones

• Ethnic minority employees are over-represented in some low-paying sectors such as catering, and under-represented in more reasonably paid ones like metal-working and printing

• Movement in and out of low pay is frequent, but moves towards low pay are more common among all ethnic minority groups than for the White British majority

• Ethnic minority employees tend to have slightly higher educational qualifications than the white majority, but are more likely to be over-qualified for the work they are doing

The study is part of a broader programme of research on the impact of poverty on ethnicity commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


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