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Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers with degrees are two and half times more likely to be unemployed than white graduates, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Friday).

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers with degrees are two and half times more likely to be unemployed than white graduates, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Friday).

The analysis of official statistics shows that the unemployment rate for white workers with degrees is 2.3%. However, for BAME graduates this rises to 5.9%,

The findings reveal that at every level of education, jobless rates are much higher for BAME workers.

BAME workers with A-level equivalents including trade apprenticeships and vocations are 3.2 times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts. And BAME workers with GCSE equivalents and basic level qualifications are more than twice as likely to be out of work.


White workers

BAME workers


Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate

Multiple of white unemployment

All adults








and high-level vocational




A-level equivalent incl. trade apprenticeships, vocations and NVQ3




GCSE equivalent including basic vocations




Entry-level/basic skills








Source: ONS Labour Force Survey 2015. All qualifications above include equivalent or similar qualifications.

The findings come after TUC analysis in February revealed that black workers with degrees are paid nearly a quarter less than their white peers – the equivalent of £4.33 an hour.

Commenting on the findings, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The harsh reality is that even now black and Asian people, regardless of their qualifications and experience, are far more likely to be unemployed and lower paid than white people.

“Whether they have PhDs or GCSEs, BAME workers have a much tougher time in the jobs market.

“Not only is this wrong, but it is a huge waste of talent. Companies that only recruit from a narrow base are missing out on the wide range of experiences on offer from Britain’s many different communities.

“The government’s taskforce on racism must make it harder for discriminating employers to get away with their prejudices, and also ensure that far more is done to improve access to the best courses and institutions for BAME young people.”

The TUC is calling on the government to recognise the scale of the problem and:

·    urgently develop a race equality strategy, with clear targets and adequate resourcing;

·    use public sector contracts to improve companies’ race equality practices;

·    ensure anonymised application forms are used as standard across the public sector, and encourage more private-sector employers to do the same;

·    encourage all employers to monitor the recruitment process for discrimination against BAME applicants;

·    work with the private sector to improve the transparency of career progression;

·    have employers include staff ethnicity figures in annual reports;

·    direct the Equality and Human Rights Commission to undertake reviews of different sectors to improve BAME recruitment.


- All figures based on TUC analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey, averaging the four quarters of 2015.

- More information about comparing academic and vocational qualifications can be found on the National Careers Service website:…

- BAME workers includes all workers who did not identify as White British, White Irish, White Gypsy/Irish Traveller or White other.

- A February TUC release on the pay gap faced by BAME workers can be found here:

- All TUC press releases can be found at
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews