According to a recent TUC report, the number of black and Asian workers in low-paid jobs increased by 12.7 per cent between 2011 and 2014.

The report – entitled “Living on the Margins” - shows that over the same period the number of white workers employed in low-paying industries increased at the much slower rate of 1.8 per cent. In 2014 nearly two-fifths (37.6 per cent) of black and Asian workers worked in low-paid industries, such as cleaning, care work and catering, compared to three in ten (29.6 per cent) white employees.

The report also reveals that black and Asian workers are twice as likely to be trapped in temporary jobs as white workers. One in 23 (4.3 per cent) black and Asian workers were in involuntary temporary employment in 2014, compared to one in 48 (2.1 per cent) white workers. Between 2011 and 2014 the number of black and Asian workers stuck in temporary work because they could not find a permanent job increased by 20 per cent, while for white workers it fell by 8 per cent.

The report also found that the number of black and Asian employees doing agency jobs increased by nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) between 2011 and 2014, compared to a 16 per cent rise for white workers.

The report recommends that:

  • The government should fund the Equality and Human Rights Commission to conduct two sector-based reviews each year to produce an action plan, agreed with employers, for improving performance in ethnic minority recruitment, retention and promotion.
  • The government should use public procurement to improve the employment of black workers by explicitly including the promotion of racial equality in all government contracts.
  • The government should take action to address the under-representation of young black and Asian workers on apprenticeships and ensure they are able to access the full range of apprenticeships.

The TUC says that black and Asian workers on temporary contracts earn £30 per week less than white workers in the same situation and nearly £200 per week less than employees on permanent contracts.

Jo Seery, from Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “The TUC report reveals that not only is there a growth in insecure employment with fewer employment rights but that this is leading to greater inequality for black and Asian workers.”