Ethnicity and Public Sector Employment in Post

Ethnicity and Public Sector
Employment in Post-recession
• The government is making unprecedented cuts to
government spending of >£83 billion in one parliament.
• In 2011, Runnymede commissioned a research paper
exploring the likely impact of public sector cuts on Black
• The paper will foreground a new project with UNISON, the
TUC and other unions, which will illustrate where
employment cuts have occurred and how they are
affecting the Black public sector workforce.
• Through an analysis of the Labour Force Survey during
the four years between 2008 – 2011, the main findings of
the paper can be summarised in the following slides.
1. There are declining rates of overall employment
among minority ethnic groups in Great Britain
• Most minority ethnic groups (apart from Indian & Chinese
men, and Eastern Europeans) had lower employment rates
than White British.
• Black (African & Caribbean) men and women were 2.5 times
as likely to be unemployed as White people.
• 66% of Bangladeshi & Pakistani women not working at all.
• 2nd generation immigrants born and educated in Britain
have similar unemployment rates to their first generation
2. Black groups experience an ethnic penalty in
• There is clear evidence of an ‘ethnic penalty’ in
employment for most Black groups.
• This means that Black people have much higher rates of
unemployment or worklessness that remain unexplained
even after taking their socio-economic backgrounds into
• These ethnic penalties worsened as the recession
proceeded, particularly for Black African men.
3. Cuts to public sector employment will have a
major impact on BME workers
• Black African and Black Caribbean people in particular
are concentrated in public-sector employment. Public
sector cuts will have a negative impact on their
• Black workers in the public sector also experience
differences compared to White workers in the hourly pay
they receive, their access to professional & managerial
positions and overall employment.
• For example, Black African and Black Caribbean workers
in professional/managerial positions were badly paid.
4. The effects of recession and recovery
• Black unemployment has been found to be
particularly high in times of economic recession in the
UK, such as during the mid 1980s and early 1990s.
• When unemployment rises during periods of
recession, it begins earlier among Black groups and
at its highest point, Black unemployment was 3 times
higher than that for the rest of the population.
• When the economic situation begins to improve, it
takes longer for the impact to be felt among Black
groups, as unemployment remains higher for them
for a longer period of time.
For more on this project, contact Debbie
Weekes-Bernard at:
[email protected]
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