19/04/2012 11:10 BST | Updated 19/04/2012 11:28 BST

The Government Is A Racist Employer, Say Half Of Black Students

Around half of black students in the UK feel the government is a racist employer, according to a think tank report published on Thursday.

Many black undergraduates feel there is deep rooted institutional racism in both government jobs and major professions such as legal services and financial jobs.

Black graduates are three times more likely to be unemployed than their white peers within six months of graduating, according to the Bow Group, who published the report. Should they find employment, they can expect to earn up to 9% less for the same work as a white graduate over a five year span.

More than a third (38%) of black students believe they would face considerable discrimination from the legal profession, while 32% feel the same about the media, while 31% feel the same way about financial service industries.

Other statistics published in the report, which questioned 2,500 students, include:

  • 60% black students do not expect to be in work within six months of graduating
  • They generally believe their parents do not receive sufficient guidance from careers counsellors to understand the choices available to their children.
  • 68% black students expect to be earning less than £25,000 per annum in their first graduate job.

The report is part of a series produced by employment charity Elevation Networks which look at experiences of groups from "non-traditional" backgrounds in Higher Education (HE).

Samuel Kasumu, Founder of Elevation Networks, said:

“We hope that the government takes our findings seriously. We found that Black students were concerned about what their future would be like once they graduated, and many of them believed that the odds were firmly stacked against them.

"There are particular challenges when it comes to those students who would like to be involved in government and politics which is very concerning.”

Published by centre-right think tank the Bow Group, the first report, called Race to the Top: the Experiences of Black Students in Higher Education, focuses on the experiences of black students from African and Caribbean backgrounds.

It recommends the government should develop a strategy to tackle the issues raised by the research and propose a diversity element should be aded to any new state-produced league tables.

Simon Hughes MP, who wrote a foreword to the report, said:

“It is clear that many of our institutions of higher education, many leading professional bodies and employers, and Government and Parliament, are all still failing to deliver equal opportunities to young people from all backgrounds.

“Though there is evidence of improvement, there are still too few black youngsters who apply to university, and particularly to the highest ranking universities – which has a harmful knock-on effect on career opportunities after further and higher education.”

The department for work and pensions could not be reached for comment.

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