For example, Unemployment statistics for 2001-02 UK Economy:
- White 4%
- Pakistani 16%
- Bangladeshi 22%
- Black Caribbean 12%
- Indian 7%
- Chinese 6%
Source: Official for National Statistics, Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey 28 March 2003
Why Unemployment rates are Higher for Certain Ethnic Minorities Groups
1. Language Skills.
In a service based economy English language speaking, is a high priority. Those workers who have English as a second language are at a disadvantage.
However, many ethnic minorities in the UK are second or third generation and speak English as their first language. Therefore, this argument only applies to first generation immigrants who are now in a minority.
It is also worth noting that unemployment levels tend to be much higher amongst young (first generation immigrants) For example, unemployment amongst Bangladeshi 16-24 year olds rises to 36% compared to 22% for all ages
2. Lower Educational qualifications.
Reports show that Black Carribean student have lower A Level grades and are less likely to go to university. However, educational standards vary significantly amongst ethnic minorities. For example, Chinese and Indian students quite often surpass white students.
E.G. The proportion of black and Pakistani pupils gaining five GCSEs at grades A to C was 29% in 1998.
The proportion of Bangladeshi pupils is 33% while the performance of Indian, Chinese and other Asian pupils continues to outstrip that of white pupils.
% of students gaining Five GCSEs at grades A to C
White Pupils 47%
Chinese Students 61%
Indian pupils 54%
Source for statistics: BBC
See also: Discrimination
The effects of discrimination are hard to quantify. But, it could be a significant factor to explain higher unemployment. In practise racial discrimination is outlawed, but, in practice it can be difficult to enforce.
However, there appears to be a big divergence between Indian unemployment and Bangladeshi unemployment. This suggests education is more significant than discrimination.
Racial discrimination in the workplace
4. Geographical Factors.
Ethnic minorities often live in certain areas of the country and in parts of cities. Some of the areas in these inner city ghettos are associated with higher rates of unemployment. This can lead to a feeling of alienation and hopelessness. Discouraging young ethnic minorities from being able to entering the labour force.