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1 Feb, 2016 15:30

Black graduates earn 25% less than white peers – Trade Union Congress

Black graduates earn 25% less than white peers – Trade Union Congress

Black people in Britain are burdened with a huge pay gap that increases as they gain further qualifications, a damning report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows.

The research, published on Monday, found the pay gap between white and black workers is most pronounced at degree level.

The study revealed that a black employee with a degree will likely earn £14.33 per hour, while a white graduate will typically earn £18.63 per hour. Black people with A-levels were found to earn 14 percent less than white people with the same qualifications, while those with GCSEs faced a deficit of 11 percent.

The TUC’s report said the pay gap between all-black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers with degree-level qualifications amounts to £1.93 per hour. The pay gap between BAME workers and their white counterparts – irrespective of educational achievement – was found to be 5.6 percent, while the pay gap between black workers and their white peers was found to be 12.8 percent.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the report’s findings are deeply worrying.

“Black and Asian people face a massive pay gap, even if they have a degree. This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages ethnic minority workers face in the UK,” she said.

“The harsh reality is that at any level of education, black and Asian workers are getting paid less than their white counterparts. Even today, race still plays a huge role in determining pay.”

Dr. Omar Khan, the director of leftwing race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust, said the research uncovers continuing racial inequality in the workplace.

“The Runnymede Trust has previously found these gaps extend even to equivalently qualified Russell Group graduates and the TUC has now shown that gaps are actually widest for those with higher qualifications,” he said.

“This suggests that education alone will do little to address racial inequalities, and the need for interventions that direct challenge racial inequalities in the workplace.”

The TUC’s report comes after Prime Minister David Cameron lashed out at universities over racial inequality and pledged to bring in new legislation to shame them into addressing the problem.

The TUC has called on the government to acknowledge the serious nature of the problem and immediately develop a strategy for realizing racial equality, with concrete targets and sufficient resources.

The body stressed this strategy must include plans to combat the rise of precarious work, which disproportionately affects BAME workers; a duty for employers to keep and publish records by ethnicity; and a requirement for public authorities to spread good practice through the use of procurement. It also suggested employers should tackle discrimination in recruitment by adopting methods such as anonymized CVs.

A government spokesperson insisted people’s progress should not be hampered because of race, religion or gender, and stressed that the government had announced plans for leading businesses and public sector bodies to introduce name-blind applications last year. He also said the government is working to extend this measure to universities.

“We have already made good progress and over the next five years will be going further by increasing the number of black, minority and ethnic groups in education and employment, whether going to university or an apprenticeship or starting their own business,” he said.

“A UK university education provides considerable benefits, with graduates earning on average £260,000 to £315,000 more over their working lives, net of tax, than those with just A-levels.”