- LIVE TV
But black people on the whole are still facing poor employment rates.
Despite research revealing that ethnic minorities are better qualified than their white British peers, critics have raised concerns that academic achievement has failed to translate into employment opportunities.
Using data from the 2011 Census, the University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics and Ethnicity (CoDE) found that Indian, Chinese and African groups achieved greater educational success than other ethnic minorities and white British people.
And, with 40 per cent, black Africans were singled out as the group with the highest proportion of degree-level qualifications.
The findings, published on March 11, also revealed that adults from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely than their white British counterparts to be educated to degree level and were less likely to have no qualifications at all.
Kitty Lymperopoulou, from the University of Manchester, said: “Though this is good news for ethnic minorities, we need to remember that despite achievement gaps between some ethnic groups and white British people narrowing or even disappearing, ethnic minority groups continue to experience inequalities in education and the labour market.”
Not withstanding the impressive findings, the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) 2014 report showed that the unemployment rate for young black people is 45 per cent, compared with 19 per cent for white Britons.
London Assembly member, Jennette Arnold, told The Voice: “It is very encouraging to see that more ethnic minority people are excelling in higher education and, in many cases, outperforming many of their peers. However, translating this attainment into the job market is another challenge altogether.
“Clearly, there will be some lag time before the current generation of graduates work their way up the job ladder and it will be very interesting to see the ethnic make-up of the workforce when the current batch of graduates reach the age and experience needed for management positions.”
The Labour politician added: “There is currently an institutional racism that exists across society and across the job market that means that ethnic minorities are under-represented at senior levels within all organisations and in all sectors.”
After an undercover operation by the DWP in 2009 found evidence of widespread racial discrimination against workers with African and Asian names, a suggestion was made for CVs and job applications to be submitted without names.
At the time of the proposal – initially suggested by Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone, the then party spokeswoman for equality – critics slammed the idea calling it “unworkable” and “bureaucracy gone mad.”
Ahead of the 2010 General Election, the Lib Dems adopted the proposal as part of their official manifesto.
But the Conservatives rejected the idea, with a spokesman saying: “We are aware of the issue of ‘pre-recruitment’ discrimination, but we are not convinced this proposal is the best way forward.”
Arnold told The Voice that nameless CVs would be a useful option until society becomes more fair.
She said: “It is so sad that we find ourselves in a situation where some recruiters will use a person’s name as a means of judging their suitability for a job, but it is not surprising and is merely a symptom of a much wider and deeper racism that cuts through many parts of our society.”
Labour MP Diane Abbott said: “Black students often find they need to work that much harder to enter into professional roles after graduating. They should be encouraged to take up work experience and get involved in a range of activities that enhance their skills.”
She added: “There is also anecdotal evidence that nameless CVs prevent discrimination. In the US a number of companies have adopted this practice and have found that more black applicants are making it through to interview stage and consequently into employment.”
– The Voice