Minorities’ job prospects no better than in 1970s

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Study finds decline in jobs for ethnic groups

THE employment prospects of some of Britain’s ethnic minorities have failed to improve and may well have declined markedly since the 1970s according to the most detailed analysis ever carried out.

A study by Professor Yaojun Li from The University of Manchester and Professor Anthony Heath from The University of Oxford found that in the 1970s, Black Caribbean, Black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men had almost as much chance of finding work as their White counterparts.

But by the mid 1980s and in the early 1990s, the differences grew by up to 30 percentage points – especially for men of Black African and Pakistani/Bangladeshi heritage.

Professors Li and Heath also found that minority groups suffer disproportionately from unemployment during periods of recession.

“In 2005 the employment situation for these groups was worse than it was 33 years before that in 1972. In other words Black Caribbean, Black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men have fallen well behind their White counterparts,” said Professor Li.

“Previous government attempts to use legislation have failed to narrow the gap although the proposals in the Queen’s Speech this month may offer some hope of progress,” added Professor Heath.

The researchers also showed that Pakistani and Bangladeshis turned to self-employment from the early 1990s onwards.

“Working for themselves was perhaps as an ‘escape strategy'”, said Professor Heath.

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