By Chaminda Jayanetti
Black graduates are four times as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts, and are undervalued and underpaid compared to white graduates at all ages, according to official figures published yesterday.
The Graduate Labour Market Statistics showed that the unemployment rate among black graduates of all ages is more than four times as high as that of white graduates – 10.3 percent compared to just 2.6 percent.
A racial pay gap also opens up, with white graduates earning a median salary nearly 30 percent higher than that of black graduates – £32,000 against £25,000, a difference of £7,000 a year.
Focusing on younger graduates, the figures also revealed that just 37 percent of black university graduates aged 21-30 were in “high skill employment” in 2015 – well below the figure of 58 percent for young white graduates, and 56 percent for young graduates of all ethnicities.
High skill employment covers managers, directors and senior officials, professional occupations and associate professional and technical occupations.
Admin roles, skilled trades, caring, leisure and other service sector jobs, and factory floor roles are all classed as middle or low skilled jobs.
The gap in high skill employment continues throughout black graduates’ careers – among graduates of all ages, 49 percent of black graduates were in high skill employment in 2015, compared to 68 percent of white graduates.
Black graduates under 30 earned a median salary of £21,000 in 2015, more than 10 percent lower than the £24,000 median salary for young graduates of all ethnicities.
The overall employment rate of young black graduates was only slightly below that of young graduates in general, suggesting that while they are being hired, they are not being promoted to senior roles as fast as their white counterparts.
However, young black graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as white graduates in the same age group – the similar employment rates are due to fewer black graduates being listed as “economically inactive”, possibly implying that fewer of them are undertaking postgraduate study.
The Graduate Labour Market Statistics are published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, based on data from the Labour Force Survey.