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Better Education But Worse Job Prospects For Minorities

April 1 2010 - Recent research by Christian Dustmann and Nikolaos Theodoropoulos from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London, published in Oxford Economic Papers, found that members of Britain's ethnic minority communities, whether born abroad or in the UK, tend to be better educated than their white British-born peers but are less likely to be employed.

The study analysed data from the British Labour Force Survey from 1979 to 2005. Conducted by the Office for National Statistics, this catagorises ethnic background as white, Indian, Pakistani, black Caribbean, black African, Bangladeshi or Chinese.

Comparing women born in Britain, researchers found that those identifying as Pakistani are 25 per cent less likely to be in employment than their white peers and those as Bangladeshi 47 per cent less likely. In the early 1980s Pakistani and Bangladeshi women born outside Britain had 46 per cent and 60 per cent lower probability of employment respectively than white British-born counterparts.

The study found that British-born members of ethnic minority communities are better educated than their parents' generation born outside the UK and white peers. This improvement is greater for the majority of British-born ethnic minority groups compared to whites. Researchers conclude that this is indicative of the value placed on education but acknowledge differences between communities. The study found that of individuals born in Britain between 1963 and 1975, half of Chinese descent went to university, compared to 15 per cent of black-Caribbeans and 20 per cent of whites.

About 46 per cent of British-born ethnic minorities live in London compared to 10 per cent of their white peers. Consequently the former group tend to earn slightly more, particularly women. However, analysis suggests that if educational attainment and regional distribution were the same in both groups, British-born ethnic minorities would earn less than their white counterparts. This would especially affect men with an estimated discrepancy of 9 per cent.

Christian Dustmann commented:

"Our research shows that individuals of ethnic-minority descent born in Britain invest considerably into education, and more so than their British-born white peers. However, it is concerning that on average British-born ethnic minorities, and in particular men, would have a wage disadvantage if they had the same education, and lived in the same region, as their white British-born peers."



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