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Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than white workers with degrees, according to new analysis published by the TUC.

Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than white workers with degrees, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Monday).

The analysis of official statistics shows that a black worker with a degree will earn £14.33 an hour, on average. However, a white graduate will typically earn £18.63 an hour – £4.33 more.

The findings reveal that the pay gap between white and black workers is at its widest at degree level. Black workers with A-levels earn 14.3% less on average than their white counterparts. And black people who leave school with GCSEs typically get paid 11.4% less than their white peers.

The pay gap between all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers with degrees and white graduates is 10.3% - the equivalent of £1.93 per hour.

The pay gap with white workers for all groups, regardless of their educational attainment, is 5.6% for BAME workers and 12.8% for black workers.

Employees: gross hourly pay


White workers

BAME workers

Black workers




Pay gap


Pay gap

All workers



















(A* - C equivalent)






No qualifications






Other qualifications






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

“These are very worrying findings. Black and Asian people face a massive pay gap, even if they have a degree. This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages ethnic minority workers face in the UK.

“The harsh reality is that at any level of education, black and Asian workers are getting paid less than their white counterparts. Even today race still plays a huge role in determining pay.

“The government cannot afford to ignore these figures and must now take genuine action to tackle pay discrimination.”

Runnymede Trust director Dr. Omar Khan said:

"The TUC's research highlights the continuing racial inequalities in the labour market. The Runnymede Trust has previously found these gaps extend even to equivalently qualified Russell Group graduates and the TUC has now shown that gaps are actually widest for those with higher qualifications.

“This suggests that education alone will do little to address racial inequalities, and the need for interventions that direct challenge racial inequalities in the workplace."

The TUC is calling on the government to recognise the scale of the problem and urgently develop a race equality strategy as a matter of political priority, with clear targets and adequate resourcing.

This should include measures to tackle the growth of casualised work, which disproportionately affects BAME workers; requirements on employers to analyse and publish pay data by ethnicity; and a requirement for public authorities to use procurement to spread good practice.

Plus, the government must encourage employers to focus on fostering opportunities for BAME leadership and building transparent career progression pathways, as well as tackling discrimination in recruitment through measures such as anonymised CVs.


  • All figures based on TUC analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey figures from Q4 2014 – Q3 2015.
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers includes all workers who did not identify as White British, White Irish, White Gypsy/Irish Traveller or White other. Black workers is a smaller subset of the BAME group, including those who identified as Black, African, Caribbean, or Black British.
  • All TUC press releases can be found at
  • Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews


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Runnymede Trust:
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