OVERQUALIFIED: Figures show that 40 per cent of Black African graduates face discrimination in the jobs market
A REPORT compiled by Joseph Rowntree Foundation for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has made recommendations following the revelation that Black African graduates top the list as the most overqualified in jobs suggesting that they face greater discrimination.
Speaking to The Voice the author, IPPR’s Marley Morris said: “Some of the stuff that has come out recently from the Joseph Rowntree foundation around qualification have been quite striking, that underemployment is so common amongst virtually every minority ethnic group even more so than white people is striking.”
According to the report, 40.8 per cent of black African graduates are currently overqualified for the roles that they work, the largest proportion of any group, followed by Bangladeshi graduates (39 per cent).
The paper lays out two challenges for ethnic minority young people, unemployment and underemployment.
Despite the increases in the number of aspirational ethnic minority students pursuing higher education, the results have failed to prove a direct correlation between educational attainment and job prospects.
Morris said: “A key part of the report is around this issue that educational outcomes of a number of ethnic minority groups have massively increased and surpassed white groups in recent years, that hasn’t been reflected in the labour market in the same way, they have these big gaps and that points to one of the key problems is the education to work transition.”
Calling for targeted action from local authorities, the paper cites evidence of discrimination in the job market against BME graduates to emphasise the need for a strategy led by councils to introduce positive action on recruitment drives, and targets for BMEs in apprenticeships.
At the Conservative conference Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron spoke briefly about the cultural practises that keep black graduates out of the workplace, he said: “Do you know that in our country today, even if they have exactly the same qualifications, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names?
ACTION ON INEQUALITY: David Cameron
“I want us to end discrimination and finish the fight for real equality in our country today.”
Morris expressed delight at the Prime Minister’s position but also warned of the need for ‘meaningful targets’ that weren’t based on the inevitability of demographic change.
“Our recommendations are on the local authority level but it is on the government to ensure that local authorities have the resources and capacity to follow these initiatives,” said Morris.
“I think this is a good opportunity, the Prime Minister minister has talked about this directly and the government has committed to a 20 per cent increase in ethnic minority employment by 2020 and similarly with apprenticeships and so on, so there is clearly will in the government to do this so it’s about saying we’re going to hold you to that target and these are some of the ways you can actually do it.”
The recommendations place local authority at the core of any long-term strategic changes emphasising that without targeted strategies, the gap between ethnic minorities is unlikely to close.