Black graduates earn less than white peers, finds TUC

Workers with degrees who identify as black, African, Caribbean, or black British earn 23 per cent less than their white counterparts on average, according to analysis from the TUC.

In contrast ‘unqualified’ workers – those more likely to be in jobs at, or close to, the minimum wage – earn “virtually” the same amount irrespective of their ethnicity.

But the racial pay gap widens as people attain higher levels of education, with black graduates earning £4.33 an hour less than a white employee with a degree.

TUC analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey figures found that the ethnicity pay gap is at its widest at degree level.

Black workers with A-levels earn 14.3 per cent less on average than their white counterparts. At GCSE level, black employees typically get paid 11.4 per cent less than their white peers.

The pay gap between white workers and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees, regardless of education, stands at 5.6 per cent. While the gap for black workers is much higher at 12.8 per cent.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “This is not about education, but about the systemic disadvantages ethnic minority workers face in the UK.

“The harsh reality is that at any level of education, black and Asian workers are getting paid less than their white counterparts. Even today race still plays a huge role in determining pay,” she added.

The TUC’s findings come as prime minister David Cameron has announced plans to force universities to release comprehensive data about the gender and socio-economic background of students who apply for places, the number offered places and the number of drop-outs.

He attacked Britain’s top universities for falling to recruit more black students, and said the fact that there are no black generals in the armed forces, and just 4 per cent chief executives from an ethnic minority in the FTSE100, “should shame our nation”.

“If you’re a young black man, you’re more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university,” he said.

“Are these just the symptoms of class divisions or a lack of equal opportunity? Or is it something worse – something more ingrained, institutional and insidious?”

Cameron rejected the idea of positive discrimination to allocate certain number of places to non-white or students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, stating “quotas don’t fix the underlying problems”.

The TUC urged the government to tackle the growth of casualised work, which disproportionately affects BAME workers. It also encouraged employers to analyse and publish pay data by ethnicity as well as taking action to tackle discrimination in recruitment through measures such as anonymised CVs.

Dr. Omar Khan, director of race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, said: “Education alone will do little to address racial inequalities. There’s a need for interventions that directly challenge racial inequalities in the workplace."