Last reviewed 31 March 2021

A third (33%) of black and ethnic minority workers say they have been unfairly turned down for a job compared to 19% of white workers, according to a new TUC survey.

The research shows that ethnic minority workers are also more likely to say that they have been unfairly overlooked for a pay rise (29%) or a promotion (28%) than white workers (22% and 21% respectively).

Furthermore, they are twice as likely as white workers (20% compared to 11%) to say that they have been kept on insecure contracts when colleagues have not.

Previous TUC analysis has revealed that ethnic minority women are twice as likely as white workers to be employed in insecure jobs. One in eight (12%) ethnic minority women are in insecure jobs compared to one in 16 (6%) white women and one in 18 (5%) white men.

And one in 11 (9%) of ethnic minority men are employed in insecure work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ethnic minority workers are far more likely than white workers to be turned down for jobs, pay rises and promotions. And they are more likely to be in low-paid, insecure jobs, with fewer rights and a greater risk of being exposed to coronavirus”.

She called on Ministers to tackle the structural racism that exists within the economy and wider society.

TUC analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the ethnic minority unemployment rate rose sharply, from 5.8% to 9.5%, between the final quarter (Q4) of 2019 and Q4 of 2020 ― an increase of nearly two-thirds.

The TUC has launched an anti-racism task force, chaired by NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, to lead the trade union movement’s renewed campaign against racism at work.

Dr Roach said: “The evidence of racism at work is incontrovertible. Black workers have been denied the opportunities to secure decent, rewarding and secure jobs, and this situation is getting worse as a result of the adverse economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

The TUC survey emphasises the importance of introducing and enforcing fair recruitment practices and post-employment opportunities within an organisation.

There are already protections under the Equality Act 2010 against racial and gender discrimination, of which employers will now likely seek to remind themselves to avoid falling foul of the law.