UK

It Costs Workers £9,300 A Year Not To Be A White Man, New Research Reveals

But it's Bangladeshi and Pakistani women who are being hit the hardest.

18/10/2017 11:48 BST | Updated 18/10/2017 11:50 BST
Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
Women and BME men are missing out on thousands of pounds a year in wages, new research claims
  • Women and ethnic minority workers missing out on a total income of £127 billion
  • Women from every single ethnic group earn less than their male counterparts
  • Bangladeshi and Pakistani women stand to lose almost £14k a year
  • Wage gap stretches to £265 a week for some ethnic minorities
  • Caribbean and Chinese women nearest to closing gap with white men

Women and ethnic minority men in Britain are missing out on the equivalent of £9,300 a year in wages because they are not white males, an unprecedented  study into the ‘true cost’ of prejudice has revealed. 

If the pay packets of these workers matched those of white British men, their additional income would total £127 billion annually, according to a research collaboration between the LSE and diversity campaigner June Sarpong, shared with HuffPost UK. 

But while the data offers a stark screenshot of overall income inequality, it also shows that some groups are suffering even more than others, with the wage gap stretching to as much as £265 a week for some minorities.

“If we are going to survive in post-Brexit Britain, we need to make sure we empower all our citizens to achieve to the best of their ability,” said Sarpong, whose newly released book Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration takes an in-depth look at diversity and discrimination. 

“That means paying them what they deserve.” 

June Sarpong
June Sarpong says more to be done to tackle wage inequality if 'we are going to survive post-Brexit Britain' 

According to the research, which compared the incomes of economically-active British adults aged between 16 and 59, it is Bangladeshi communities who are experiencing the effects of inequality most sharply under the current hierarchy of pay. 

Over the course of a year, women from this community are paid £13,801 a year less than white British men, who are said to earn £35,194 on average, while Bangladeshi men see their pay cheques fall short by £10,759. 

Men and women from Pakistani backgrounds are similarly disadvantaged, earning £9,251 and £13,562 less that white men respectively. 

LSE/ June Sarpong
Britain's income gap can mean a difference of £265 a week in wages for some workers, compared to white men.
LSE/ June Sarpong
Bangladeshi and Pakistani women (middle, right column) stand to lose almost £14,000 a year on white men (top, left column).

“These figures shouldn’t be something that depresses people,” said journalist Sarpong. “They should be something that encourages us all to act. 

“There was a race disparity audit last week and as good as it was for the government to highlight the problem and kickstart the conversation, it failed to decide what we need to do about it.” 

She continued: “I would like to a clear set of goals for diversity and inclusion, as well as a deadline and annual review. 

“We need a target to work towards - it makes it so much easier for businesses and employers to know what to do, and all of the research shows it’s better for the bottom line too. 

“You may think your business is doing well, but if you inject a bit more diversity, its going to do even better. So even just from a selfish point of view, this is the smart thing to do.” 

You may think your business is doing well, but if you inject a bit more diversity, its going to do even better June Sarpong

But it is not just race that puts a dent in British workers’ salaries - women from every single ethnic group earn less than their male counterparts, according to the research. 

And while it is white British men who dominate the league table when it comes to earnings, the same does not apply to white women, who see one of the starkest wage disparities, equivalent to almost £11,000 a year. 

In fact, it is Black Caribbean and Chinese women who are nearest to closing the wage gap with white men - but these groups still face a pay deficit of at least £7,737 per annum. 

Professor John Hills, who contributed to the LSE research, said there were “many reasons” why incomes differ so greatly, with “choices couples make over caring and who works part-time” playing a role. 

He continued: “But sometimes, it is sheer waste, where people have ended up in jobs where as a country we are not making the best use of their skills and abilities.”

Sometimes it is sheer waste, where people have ended up in jobs where as a country we are not making the best use of their skills and abilities Professor John Hills

According to Sarpong, the world of work must undergo an urgent review to tackle the current striking gender disparity.

“Women have only been in the work place in large numbers for the last 60 years or so, so relatively speaking it’s quite a new phenomenon,” she said. “The world of work was designed for men, with women at home. That is no longer the case.

“Why can’t we have more flexible working hours? Why can’t we have more shared roles? 

“If we want the world to continue, women need to have children, so let’s make it easier for them to work and be mothers.

“We are losing so much talent,” she added. 

Read more: 

June Sarpong: ‘We Cannot Afford Not To Talk About Diversity

Iqbal Wahhab OBE: ‘From Presidents To Shopkeepers - We All Have A Role In Creating An Inclusive Society