Tackling ethnic disparities in employment means tackling racism

Apr 1, 2021

Ethnic minority young people face a range of barriers to accessing good-quality employment. That includes racism.  

There is clear evidence of the long-standing ethnic disparities in job outcomes for young people. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our recent research with the Institute for Employment Studies shows falls in employment have been four times greater for young black people and nearly three times greater for young Asian people than their white counterparts. Employment rates are higher for white young people than for all ethnic minority groups.   

Culture and the role of family alone cannot explain the existence of these disparities.  

We believe that urgent action, underpinned by collaboration across society, is needed to address both the disadvantages and discrimination that prevent too many ethnic minority young people from accessing good quality employment. Youth Futures Foundation remains committed to tackling these deep-rooted and widespread barriers by collating, creating and spreading evidence of what works. Doing so requires understanding the different experiences of ethnic minority groups and how race intersects with other factors including gender, social class, disability and geography  

Through our grants programme, we are testing and evaluating interventions that aim to provide critical support for ethnic minority young people in the jobs market. Our experience over the last year has also highlighted a lack of equity in funding for organisations focused on and/or led by people from ethnic minority backgrounds. To counter this, we have invested in minority-led infrastructure and delivery organisations and will continue to prioritise this in the future.  

Evidence shows that ethnic minority young people are currently underrepresented in the apprenticeship system. The Commission points to the positive role Youth Futures can play in growing their access to apprenticeships and wstand ready to work with government departments and other partners to make this happen. 

Over the coming months we will use the debates sparked by the Commission’s report to ignite meaningful and lasting changes to the youth employment system. We want to help build a coalition of employers, practitioners, policymakers, and young people, to drive progress. 

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