What do the studies show?

Below are some of the issues faced by BME communities in 2016; our sole focus is on the African element.


YouElect: 7 issues affecting BME communities in the UK

1. Unrepresentative policing

  • In October 2015, Theresa May criticised the British police force for failing to be representative of the ethnic diversity of the communities they serve.

  • In London, 40% of the population is BME however only 1 in 10 police officers are from a BME background.

  • There are 4 police forces in the UK that have no BME police officers at all.

  • Disproportionate use of police stop and search powers among BME communities remains to be a key concern which fuels distrust between the police and members of such communities.

2. Inequality in employment

  • In December 2015, the Resolution Foundation released the results of their study which found that the employment gap between the best and worst performing regions of the UK was 15% higher for people from BME backgrounds at 26%.

  • The issue of employment inequality has also caught the attention of David Cameron who addressed the issue in his speech at the Conservative Party conference in October.

  • During the speech, the Prime Minister cited research showing that people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get job call-backs as people with ethnic-sounding names. 

  • In order to tackle this issue, Mr Cameron has pledged his support for a name blind application process. The Civil Service and UCAS are among the first to sign up to the scheme which will ensure that applicants are judged by their skills and not by their ethnicity.


Institute of Race Relations Findings

1. Poverty

  • Throughout the UK, people from BAME groups are much more likely to be in poverty (ie an income of less than 60 per cent of the median household income) than white British people. In 2015, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities were the most likely to be in ‘persistent poverty’, followed by Black African and Black Caribbean communities.

  • In 2010, nearly three-quarters of 7-year-old Pakistani and Bangladeshi children and just over half of those black children of the same age were living in poverty.  About one in four white 7-year-olds were classed as living in poverty.

2. Housing

  • In 2009, the Wealth and Assets Survey revealed that the ‘average white household’ had roughly £221,000 in assets, black Caribbean households had about £76,000, Bangladeshi households £21,000 and black African households £15,000.

3. Homelessness

  • BAME groups are also more likely to experience homelessness. In Wolverhampton, for example, in 2011, 26 per cent of the population were from a BAME community, but these same communities made up about 40 per cent of the homeless cases seen by the local authority. 

  • In 2014 the Runnymede Trust found that in the East London borough of Redbridge, black people made up 26 per cent of homeless persons, whilst making up 9 per cent of the population. White people made up 24 per cent of the homelessness population whilst 63.5 per cent of Redbridge’s total population.

  • According to BME National and the Human City Institute, 28 per cent of statutory homeless households were from a ‘BME background’ in 2001; by 2011 this had increased to 33 per cent and by 2013 this had increased to 37 per cent.

4. Employment

  • BAME workers in UK are third more likely to be underemployed

  • In the first quarter of 2016, BAME workers had an underemployment rate of 15.3%, compared with 11.5% for white workers. The research shows that if BAME workers had the same rate as white workers, more than 110,000 would be lifted out of underemployment.

  • As of March 2015, 5 per cent of White people, 13 per cent of Black (African or Caribbean) people and 9 per cent of Asian people, of working age and eligibility (16-64), were unemployed

  • In March 2015, figures showed that the proportion of 16-24 year olds from BAME communities unemployed for over a year had increased by almost 50 per cent (to 41,000 people) since 2010. For their white counterparts, there had been a decrease of 2 per cent.

  • Under the government’s “BME 2020 plan” ministers have been charged with increasing the number of BME students going to university, raising apprenticeship takeup and ensuring that 20,000 startup loans are awarded to BME applicants by 2020.


'BAME graduates '2.5 times more likely to be jobless than white peers'

  • TUC analysis puts unemployment rate for BAME workers with degrees at 5.9% compared with 2.3% for white counterparts.

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers with degrees are two and half times more likely to be unemployed than their white peers, according the TUC.

  • Using official figures, the TUC found that at every level of education, jobless rates were much higher for BAME workers.

  • BAME workers with A-level equivalents including trade apprenticeships and vocations were 3.2 times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts.

  • TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady said the government’s taskforce on racism “must make it harder for discriminating employers to get away with their prejudices”.

  • The TUC is urging the government to use public sector contracts to improve companies’ race equality practices. It wants ministers to ensure anonymised application forms are used as standard across the public sector, and to encourage more private-sector employers to do the same. The group is also calling on employers to include staff ethnicity figures in annual reports.


Institute for Social and Economic research: Labour market disadvantage of ethnic minority British graduates: university choice, parental background or neighbourhood? |2016 report

  • BAME people with GCSEs paid 11% less than white counterparts, a deficit rising to 23% for university graduates, says TUC

  • Black workers face a “massive pay gap” that widens as they achieve more qualifications, according to a report by the Trades Union Congress.

  • The research suggested there was a 23% gap in hourly pay between black and white university graduates. Black people with A-levels were paid 14% less on average than white workers with equivalent qualifications, while those with GCSEs faced a deficit of 11%.

  • It comes after David Cameron criticised universities over racial inequality and vowed to introduce new laws to “shame” them into action.

  • The TUC analysed figures from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey and found black workers with a degree were paid £4.30 an hour less on average than white graduates.

  • Staff from all ethnic minority backgrounds faced a 10% pay deficit at degree level, rising to 17% for those with A-levels alone.


TUC - Living on the margins Black workers and casualisation 2015

This report highlights how BME workers have been disproportionately affected by the growth in part-time, insecure and low-paid employment. It illustrates the ways in which changes in working patterns and in the contractual relationship between employer and employees have had a negative effect on BME workers resulting in many living on the margins of the labour market


Race at Work report 2015

  • One in eight of the working-age population is from a BAME background, yet only one in ten are in the workplace and only one in 16 top management positions are held by an ethnic minority person. 

  • British people with a BAME background are more likely to enjoy their work but are less likely to be rated as top performers compared to their white counterparts.

  • 30% of those employees who have witnessed or experienced racial harassment or bullying from managers, colleagues, customers or suppliers report it has occurred in the past year alone.


The experience of black and minority ethnic staff in Higher Education in England 2011

Exploring the lived experience of black and minority ethnic staff (BME) and how institutional policy and practice may affect BME staff differently


Workplace experiences of BME and white staff published for every NHS trust across England 2015

This report provides unvarnished feedback to every hospital and trust across the NHS about the experiences of their BME staff. It confirms that while some employers have got it right, for many others these staff survey results are both deeply concerning and a clear call to action.


Youth Unemployment and Ethnicity TUC report 2016

This TUC analysis of the Labour Force Survey looks at the impact of the 2008 recession on young people from ethnic minority groups. The analysis looks at:

  • youth unemployment rates;

  • the proportion of young people who are unemployed;

  • the proportion of young people who are unemployed or economically inactive and not in education