Record High Ethnic Minority Employment

Black and ethnic minority (BAME) employment rate is 65.1% – a record high.

  • BAME unemployment rate is 7.5% – the lowest it’s been since this series began in 2001.
  • BAME employment gap is a record low 10.1 percentage points.

The employment rate for black and minority ethnic people has reached a record high, with 3.8 million in work and unemployment at its lowest point since records began.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also report that the BAME employment gap – the difference between the employment rates of the ethnic minority population and the overall population – is at an all-time low.

Breaking down the employment rate across minority ethnic groups, the ONS reports the highest employment rate is among the Indian community at 74.4%.

Employment rates by ethnic group for the four quarter average to March 2018

Employment Rate Unemployment Rate
Total 75.2% 4.3%
Ethnic Minority 65.1% 7.5%
Mixed 65.8% 7.6%
Indian 74.4% 5.5%
Pakistani/Bangladeshi 54.6% 9.8%
Chinese 60.0% 3.9%
Black/African/Caribbean 68.1% 9.1%
Other 64.1% 6.9%

These figures come as the country’s employment rate reached a record high, including more women in work than ever before with unemployment at its lowest since records began. Statistics from the ONS show:

  • Employment rate is 75.6 per cent – a new record high.
  • Female employment rate is at 71.2% – a new record high.
  • Unemployment rate is at 4.2% – has not been lower since 1975.

With record BAME figures, the Government is making progress on its commitment to get BME employment up by 20% by 2020, already increasing the number of BAME people employed by 14% in the last three years.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said:

“It’s right that as we celebrate record employment across the country – but I think it is equally important that we also recognise the highest employment rate on record for people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“These latest figures show we are successfully building an economy that offers opportunities for everyone. However, we need to do even more and I am personally committed to ensuring that we work to close the gap in the employment participation rates between all groups.

The Government wants to support a further half-a-million BME people into work by 2020. To achieve the 2020 target the Department for Work and Pensions has identified 20 local authority ‘challenge areas’ which factors in the areas with a large BAME population and wide employment rate gaps.

Jobcentre Plus’ working in the challenge areas will be provided with more information on how to support BAME jobseekers to overcome employment barriers, with additional training for staff so they can help employers understand the benefits of a diverse workforce. The Department for Work and Pensions will also be working with community groups and local employees to run pilot programmes to identify initiatives which make a positive difference in increasing employment rates.

Helen Goodman

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