Those of a Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Arab background ‘earn less’ than white employees

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LONDON: Those of a Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Arab background consistently earned less than white British employees’ official figures show. Overall, the pay gap between white and ethnic minority employees continues to fall and is at its smallest level for seven years. There was a 2.3% gap in earnings between white and ethnic minority employees in England and Wales in 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

White employees earned on average £12.40 per hour, compared with £12.11 for those in 17 ethnic minority groups on average. According to a Asian Image report, this is the smallest gap since 2012, when it was 5.1%. However, the GMB, Britain’s general union responded to the publication of the new ONS estimates stating the gap for workers identified as being of Pakistani ethnicity was 16 per cent.  In London, the ethnicity gap was estimated to be 24 per cent – the highest of any region.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: “While any progress is welcome, today’s figures underline just how far the UK has to go before pay justice is achieved for all workers. “The fact that in some parts of the UK, BAME workers are paid a quarter less is a shaming indictment of the structural discrimination in our society.

“These shocking figures come just days after the Prime Minister’s own race relations adviser, Lord Woolley, said that the Government has ‘zero plans’ to address the breadth of racial inequality in this country.

“We urgently need mandatory employer ethnicity pay gap reporting to the introduced, tough action against discriminatory employers, and a comprehensive plan to address the structural causes of unequal treatment in our society”.

Between 2012 and 2019, Chinese, white Irish, white and Asian, and Indian ethnicities earned more on average than white British employees.

Taking into account factors such as age, sex, marital status, children, qualifications, country of birth and location of employees narrows the gap for many ethnic groups, the ONS found. It said: “Adjusting for pay determining characteristics influences the pay gaps observed, with a narrowing of pay gaps for most ethnicities.

In 2019, ethnic minority men earned 6.1% less than white men whilst the hourly pay of ethnic minority women was 2.1% more than white women. It was most pronounced in London, at 23.8%, and smallest in Wales, at 1.4%, the ONS said.

Ethnic minority employees aged 30 and over tend to earn less than their white counterparts, while those aged 16-29 tend to earn more, the ONS found. The ONS analysed data on earnings from the Annual Population Survey (APS).