diversity summit

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers are a third more likely to be underemployed than white workers, according to a new report.

The research by Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows that if BAME workers faced the same rate as white workers, over 110,000 would be lifted out of underemployment.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, for the first quarter of 2016, BAME workers face an underemployment rate of 15.3%, compared to a rate of 11.5% for white workers.

The findings are released as part of a TUC submission to the McGregor-Smith Review, a government consultation on “developing black and minority ethnic talent”.

Earlier this month, the Women and Equalities Committee found that Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in the UK and only 35% of working-age Muslim women in the UK are in employment.

BAME workers also face higher unemployment rates, lower pay and are underrepresented in senior roles, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The TUC are calling on employers and the government to tackle discrimination in the workplace as they say the issue is part of a much bigger problem.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Underemployment is a major problem in the UK, and it only gets worse if you’re black, Asian, or part of any ethnic minority. This is not only wrong, but a massive waste of talent too.

“Employers and the government cannot afford to ignore these problems. They must now take real action to tackle underemployment and pay discrimination.”

The TUC say using standardised, anonymous job application forms for new employers and establishing clear, written procedures for dealing with discrimination at work among other things will help to reduce discrimination.

TUC also said the government could take preventative measures by developing a comprehensive race equality strategy, expanding workers’ rights to include temporary and part-time workers and eliminating tribunal fees, especially for discrimination cases.