BAME young people at greater risk of being in unstable employment

Research using Next Steps has found that young people of your generation from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are 47% more likely to be on a zero-hours contract and 10% more likely to be working a second job, compared to their White peers.

What we asked you

When we surveyed you at age 25 we asked what you did for work. We also asked questions to find out about your emotional health and wellbeing.

What the researchers found

The researchers compared the employment status of 25-year-olds from different ethnic backgrounds – White, Mixed-race, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean, Black African, and other minority ethnicities.

Although BAME workers on the whole had more trouble finding stable employment than their White counterparts, experiences in the job market varied for the different ethnic groups.

For instance, 25-year-olds of Pakistani ethnicity were more likely to be on a zero-hours contract or be working shifts, and were less likely to have a permanent job, than White 25-year-olds. However, Indian and Black Caribbean workers were no more likely than White workers to be in these types of employment.

25-year-olds of a Black African background had lower odds of being in a permanent role and were more likely to be doing shift work than White workers of the same age. But Mixed-race, Indian and Black Caribbean 25-year-olds had similar chances of being in these types of jobs. Only Black Caribbean young people were more likely than their White peers to be working a second job.

The researchers took account of a range of other factors which could affect labour market success, including gender, family background and educational attainment.

On the whole, young people from BAME backgrounds were 58% more likely to be unemployed than their White counterparts. But again, experiences differed for each ethnic group. Despite these challenges, the overwhelming majority of ethnic minority young people were in permanent employment at age 25.

Unfavourable employment status was also found to be linked to mental ill health. While the greatest disparities were between those who were unemployed and those who were working, millennials in unstable employment also suffered poorer mental health than those not working under these conditions.

 Why this research matters

Published jointly by the Carnegie UK Trust, the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Operation Black Vote, this research highlights the challenges young people from different communities face in the job market.

Douglas White from Carnegie UK Trust said: “Good work can have a really positive impact on people’s wellbeing – but we need to tackle the inequalities in who has access to good quality jobs. This report highlights that young people from BAME communities are particularly likely to enter into precarious forms of work. We need policy and practice to recognise and respond to this to ensure that good work is available to all.”

In the news

The research was presented to Parliament and was extensively covered in British news media including:
The Guardian – BAME millennials have less stable working lives than their white peers

BBC – Young ethnic minority workers more likely to be in unstable jobs – study

Find out more about this research                      

‘Race inequality in the workforce: exploring connections between work, ethnicity and mental health’ is a joint report by Carnegie UK Trust, the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Operation Black Vote.