Action for Race Equality with Sir Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, hosted an important roundtable event in Parliament focused on addressing unemployment disparities faced by young people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Mixed heritage backgrounds in the UK.
The event, ‘Unlocking opportunities: bridging the employment gap for young Black, Asian, and Mixed Heritage people’, aimed to engage policymakers, employers, and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) practitioners to create positive changes and reduce the employment gap that currently exists for ethnic minority young people.
According to the Youth Futures Foundation’s 2022 survey of 2,296 ethnic minority young people, many young people (44% of young Asian people, and 57% of young Black people) see their ethnicity as a barrier to career success. The research also found:
- 7 in 10 young people (71%) have experienced some form of workplace discrimination
- 1 in 3 have experienced discrimination when applying for a job (37%) and/or at a job interview (36%)
- More than half (55%) of young Black people feel that employers underestimate their abilities because of their ethnic background
When looking closer, we can see those young Black men, aged 16 – 24, are up to three times as likely to be unemployed, compared to their white counterparts, regardless of any qualifications. This is an inequality that has persisted for several years.
ARE, with a selection of passionate employers and local partners in London and regionally, are now looking to keep this important conversation and stark disparities on the table, especially as the ever-growing impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on young people’s socio-economic health and security become alarmingly clear.
Speakers at the event included: Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions); Tammy Fevrier, Youth and Skills policy lead at Department for Work and Pensions; Chris Goulden, Director of Impact and Evidence, Youth Futures Foundation; Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive of Action for Race Equality; Zenab Mumtaz, Socio-economic development manager, Lendlease; Syed Uddin, Director of Bengali-youth focussed organisation, Leaders in Community, and young people who have stepped forward to represent their peers and be advocates for better outcomes for their communities.
“The benefits of a good job that pays well ought to be available to everybody, so I’m glad to join Action for Race Equality in discussing the employment disparities that some young people still face in Britain today.”Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South
At the event, ARE launched a new Positive Action Guide, developed by Moving on Up’s dedicated Employer Champions. The session gave a platform for audience members to hear ARE’s key policy asks for the first time. They were collated together with young people and leaders from the Black and minority-led community, voluntary sector. They include:
- A call for government to set a national target to close the unemployment rate disparity between young Black men and the average unemployment rate for all young men, with a focus on London. Jobcentre Plus should lead the development and delivery of local action plans, tracked through transparent ethnicity reporting.
- For the Department for Work and Pensions to collect and publish data on employment rates of young Black, Asian, and Mixed heritage people, including those not in employment, education, or training. The data should be accessible to the public and easy to interpret.
- Encouraging local councils to support effective programmes tailored to the specific needs of different demographics, guiding young individuals into fields they are passionate about and working with employers that promote progression opportunities.
- A call for employers to improve employment policies to foster a diverse workforce, supporting young Black, Asian, Mixed heritage and minority ethnic individuals. This can be achieved through the implementation of existing tools such as the Mayor of London’s Inclusive Employers Toolkit, ARE’s Positive Action Guide, and public sector procurement.
Following the launch of the Positive Action guide, which comes soon after Moving on Up’s recent campaign, #TapIntoLondonsBlackTalent, we are inviting employers who are ready to make a tangible difference and commit to change, to join our dedicated Employer Champions Group.
For media inquiries and further information, please contact: Payal Bhavsar, Senior Communications Officer: payal@Actionforraceequality.org.uk
For inquiries about our work tackling disparities in employment, please contact: Indra Nauth, Programme Director: indra@Actionforraceequality.org.uk