Ethnic minorities find it harder to get promotions at work, and may be unable to haul themselves out of poverty, a new report has claimed.
Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that low paid workers believed their opportunities for promotion limited, and that ethnic minorities especially face multiple problems in getting promoted.
Ethnic minorities tend to be highly represented in low-paid work, particularly Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and migrant workers.
Difficulties include unequal access to opportunities for development; unclear information about training opportunities; and stereotyping.
"I have known people to apply for jobs and you know they can do it, they have got all the qualifications, they have had all the right experience and everything. But then somebody else has got it, because sometimes I do think it is the case of the face fits,” one housing association worker, resident in the UK 40 years, told researchers.
The study adopted a qualitative approach, involving nine case study organisations, four in Scotland and
five in England. Interviews were carried out with 65 low-paid workers and 43 managers.
The report’s lead authors, Maria Hudson and Gina Netto called for better understanding of the role of workplace cultures in routes out of poverty for people of all ethnicities.
Hudson said: “Managers who provide regular, constructive feedback and offer encouragement to employees to develop tend to be the exception rather than the norm. We found many examples of unsupportive management that was holding back staff from career progression. ‘’
But the report also detailed positive examples, where good managers had sought to encourage staff with potential. A Ghanaian store assistant told researchers: "I had a chef who always wanted me to get involved in the kitchen, rather than concentrating on the washing up.
"So he kept on pushing me … and I ended up being the breakfast chef.”