Black graduates earn 25% less than white colleagues

01 February 2016 -


New research from the TUC reveals pay gap widens as qualifications increase

Matt Scott

Black workers with degrees earn an average of 23.1% less than white workers with degrees, new figures from the TUC reveal.

The research found that a degree-educated black worker earns an average of £11.73 an hour, compared to £18.63 an hour for white workers with degrees.

Overall, the pay gap between white and black workers stands at 12.8% – or £1.72 – with the gap at its widest for those with a degree qualification (see chart). For all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers, the gap to white colleagues is 5.6%.


TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These are very worrying findings. Black and Asian people face a massive pay gap, even if they have a degree. This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages ethnic minority workers face in the UK.

“The harsh reality is that at any level of education, black and Asian workers are getting paid less than their white counterparts. Even today race still plays a huge role in determining pay.”

The TUC is calling on the government to develop a race equality strategy as a matter of political priority, with clear targets and adequate resourcing including measures to tackle the growth of casualised work, which disproportionately affects BAME workers; requirements on employers to analyse and publish pay data by ethnicity; and a requirement for public authorities to use procurement to spread good practice.

“The government cannot afford to ignore these figures and must now take genuine action to tackle pay discrimination,” O’Grady said.

The TUC also wants government to encourage employers to focus on fostering opportunities for BAME leadership and building transparent career progression pathways, as well as tackling discrimination in recruitment through measures such as anonymised CVs.

Courts and Universities in the cross-hairs

Ahead of the publication of the research, Prime Minister David Cameron announced new measures aimed at reducing racial discrimination in courts and universities.

Under the plans, Universities will be required to disclose the proportion of ethnic minority applicants that are successful.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Cameron said: "Consider this: if you're a young black man, you're more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university.

“There are no black generals in our armed forces and just 4% of chief executives in the FTSE 100 are from ethnic minorities… What does this say about modern Britain? Are these just the symptoms of class divisions or a lack of equal opportunity? Or is it something worse – something more ingrained, institutional and insidious?”

Tottenham MP David Lammy has also been called on by the Prime Minister to review discrimination in the judicial system, including why black offenders are more likely to receive a prison sentence than white counterparts.

"I don't care whether it's overt, unconscious or institutional - we've got to stamp it out," Cameron added, warning it would otherwise only "feed those who preach a message of grievance and victimhood".

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