Black and minority ethnic workers in the UK face £3.2 billion pay gap

Research has found “significant pay penalties”, even after controlling for factors such as education, region, contract type and industry. 

Black man studying in library

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers in the UK face an annual pay gap of £3.2bn, an independent think tank has found.

The Resolution Foundation, an organisation which analyses the living standards of those on middle and low incomes in the UK, found that Britain’s 1.9 million black, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi employees are earning billions of pounds less than their white counterparts every year.

This follows an investigation by The Pharmaceutical Journal in November 2018, which revealed a 16% pay gap between BAME and white pharmacists working a 40-hour week.

Using data from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, the research from the Resolution Foundation controlled for factors such as a worker’s occupation, contract type, industry, education level and degree class.

The analysis revealed that even after accounting for these factors, black and minority ethnic workers earn between £2.5bn and £3.9bn less each year compared to their white peers with the same qualifications and job characteristics.

Black male graduates faced the largest pay gap of all the groups studied according to the research, earning £3.90 per hour less than their white counterparts, amounting to £7,000 over the course of a year.

Meanwhile, Pakistani and Bangladeshi male graduates earned £2.67 less per hour, and black female graduates earned £1.62 less per hour.

The think tank called on the government to issue legislation requiring companies to publish ethnic minority pay gaps as it did with gender pay gaps in April 2018.

Kathleen Henehan, research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said black and minority ethnic employees “have made important gains in the labour market in recent years”.

But she added: “Black and ethnic minority workers still suffer significant pay penalties compared to white men and women doing the same types of jobs, and are collectively losing out on £3.2bn a year.”

“After the successful steps taken to expose and tackle the gender pay gap in 2018, we now need greater accountability on the ethnic pay gap in 2019. The government can make this happen by requiring large firms to report their BAME pay gaps alongside the reporting they’re already doing on gender.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Black and minority ethnic workers in the UK face £3.2 billion pay gap;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20205943

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