• Sofia Eugeniou

Young BAME workers more likely to be in unstable work

Younger black, Asian and minority ethnic workers are more likely to work in precarious conditions, including working on a zero-hour contract and having a second job, a study has found.


A survey by Carnegie UK Trust of 7,700 young people in England showed that those with non-white backgrounds were 47 per cent more likely to be working on a zero-hours contract than their white counterparts.


Youg individuals from BAME groups (all surveyed at the age of 25) were also 10 per cent more likely to work a second job than white young people, and 5 per cent more likely to be doing shift work.


Precarious work of this kind generally means an individual's labour rights are not secure - workers are often subject to unstable employment, lower wages and more dangerous working conditions.


These findings indicate that young BAME workers are less likely to receive social benefits and can be denied the right to join a union. Even with the right to unionize, it is common that workers are scared to do so as they are aware their role is easily replaceable.

Image credit: The Mercury News

For far too long precarious employment - which is on the rise, particularly in the UK - has been a neglected problem. The disproportionate makeup of BAME individuals within this employment type is another cause for concern for black and ethnic minority communities.


Not only does precarious employment have the potential to be physically endangering, but the lack of security over worker's rights and obtainable shifts can be distressing both emotionally and mentally, adding to the mental health crisis among the young BAME community in the UK.


Researchers from Carnegie UK Trust have called on the government and employers to make 'good work' equally available to workers in BAME communities as well as urging employers to carry out internal audits of race disparity in their organisations.


Employers have also been told to 'stop making excuses' when it comes to collecting data on ethnicity pay.


With Black Lives Matter protests continuing in cities across the UK, a petition calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for UK firms with more than 250 staff is now top of the social interest agenda for many Brits. The recent petition devised to tackle yet another form of racial inequality has received over 100,000 signatures and will be considered for debate in parliament.


The introduction of an ethnicity-based pay gap reporting framework would be similar to that already in place for the gender pay gap,


With the Covid-19 pandemic devastating economies and the employment sector, now more than ever measures to address inequalities in access to more secure work types and ensuring equal pay for all workers, is vital.

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