Race Disparity: Not just America’s problem
I think most people can agree that America has had its fair share of race-related problems. But do we really believe that the UK doesn’t have these same problems? It’s been 50 years since the 1968 Race Relations Act banned the infamous “no blacks, no Irish, no dogs” signs. But race disparity is still a growing problem across the West; plaguing wealth, education, and employment.
The Racial Wealth Gap
“Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children”
The story of OJ – Jay Z
The racial wealth gap is the median measure of the white families wealth and the BAME families wealth. Currently, black families in America, on average, own 16 cents of wealth to the white family’s dollar. In a year, that’s $17,600 to $171,000. In the UK, Black families have a weekly income of less than £400 — the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups. Furthermore, BAME families earn as much as £8,900 less than their white British counterparts. And the thing about wealth is, it grows — across generations.
Owning your own home, and being able to pass it down to family members is a vital part of building wealth. And this is where inequality persists down generations. For example, if your parents bought a house in 1980 — they would have paid, on average, £55,000. In today’s world, the average house price is £485,830. And all of that wealth will be passed down to the next generation.
There’s an ongoing battle for ethnic minorities to receive a high-quality education. Data published by UCAS shows that even if BAME and White British students took the same subjects and received the same grades, universities would still favour the latter. But race disparity doesn’t stop at University. Even after achieving their qualifications, BAME students still earn on average 11% less than their white counterparts after GSCE’s, and at Degree level, it jumps up to 23.1% less than those from a white background. It’s this ongoing battle that contributes to the lack of BAME people in director positions in the workforce.
Bills, Bills, Bills
The UK employment rate presents a disparity between ethnicities, with 76% of White British being employed, compared to only 64% for BAME. Ethnic minorities are consistently under-represented at senior levels across industries. The FTSE top 100 for example, only had 8 directors from a minority ethnic background.
While organisations do need to reassess their diversity policies, they also need to consider the challenges BAME employees face before they join the workforce. For example, People with African and Asian surnames, with the equivalent qualifications of a White British person, will have to send in twice as many CVs just to get an interview.
The gap within the gap
Yet it doesn’t stop there. Women of every race battle the gender pay gap, with BAME women, are some of the lowest paid workers in the UK, across every industry. Minority women receive up to 26% less pay than White British men in the same positions. Going deeper into the breakdown between the various ethnicities: Black African women earn 24% less, Of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, this rises to 26.2% and it’s the same in America.
While women are on average receiving 80 cents for every dollar men receive, numbers show black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men, on average and Latinas receive 54 cents for every dollar a non-Hispanic white male earns, the report found.
Race disparity is embedded in every aspect of our system. From education to employment, BAME citizens are a disadvantage. But progress is happening. The UK has become more ethnically diverse and BAME employment rates are at their highest for the first time in 15 years. And there’s no shortage of ideas on how to tackle employment inequalities — from diverse recruitment panels and name-blind CV’s to Change management programs. But how long will this progress take? We still have a long way to go before there’s a level playing field for everyone. So ask yourself, what change do you want to see?
Join the Debate
Here are RedCat Digital, we have recognised the importance of diversity and inclusion in organisations. We are now heavily invested in actively trying to make a change and add value where we can with our brand new D&I change management programme available to all businesses.
For more details on how to be a part of this scheme, please contact Sarah Childs, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Phone: 0207 2657800