New research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Government Equalities Office (GEO), shows that people from ethnic minorities have seen a marked increase in their rate of unemployment since the start of the recession in 2008. Trevor Phillips of the EHRC has called for a 'fundamental re-examination' of workplace cultures and practices.
According to the report, members of the Caribbean and African community have seen unemployment levels rise by 6.9% from 13.2% in the first quarter of 2008, to 20.1% in the third quarter of 2009. This compares with a 2.8% rise in white unemployment, up from 4.8% to 7.6%, over the same period.
The trend has become more marked over the last six months, with Asian and Caribbean and African unemployment rising by 2.2% and 4.4% respectively, whilst white unemployment has risen by just 0.8%.
The report, which updates findings published earlier this year by the Commission and GEO, looks at how the downturn in the UK labour market has impacted on various equality groups between the first quarter of 2008 and the quarter ending September 2009.
Results also suggest that young people (18–24 years) and men have continued to see large increases in their unemployment levels since the beginning of the current UK recession in the first quarter of 2008.
Unemployment among 18-24 year olds is up by 6.5% from 12.0% in the first quarter of 2008, to 18.5% in the third quarter of 2009. Over the same period, unemployment for men rose from 5.6 to 9.2% (up 3.6%).
Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission, said:
“The data for the last six months suggests a significant deterioration in employment for those from ethnic minority groups which risks undoing much of the progress made over the last few years. The figures also show that the employment outcomes of younger people remain a particular problem. The adverse economic and social impacts of widespread youth unemployment can leave scars which will take many years to heal.
“When the economy returns to growth, the challenge will be to ensure that no talent is constrained for arbitrary reasons, or needless barriers – something which is well within the power of a 21st Century society to overcome. This implies a fundamental re-examination of the culture and practices that underlie the way our society and workplaces operate. No recovery can be complete without it. With it, the UK can face up to the rigours of a competitive global economy with confidence.”