British minorities do better in education but can’t find work

  • By Charlie Williams

Report blames discrimination for lack of social mobility for Britain’s ethnic minority groups

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A new government report shows that white, christian children with British sounding names achieve higher pay and better jobs with better job security despite achieving the lowest standards in education. 

Black, Middle-Eastern and Asian children in the UK are more likely to be unemployed as adults despite doing better at school, according to a report by the government’s official body on social mobility.

The Social Mobility Commission said young people from black backgrounds and Muslims in particular struggled to convert academic achievement into improved job prospects later in life.

Wednesday’s report says geography, discrimination by employers, social bias and cultural barriers were to blame for “broken promises” on social mobility.

“It is striking that many of the groups that are doing best at school or improving their results the most are losing out when it comes to jobs and opportunities later in life”

Alan Milburn, Chairman, Social Mobility Commission

The head of the commission, former Labour government minister Alan Milburn, said the UK was a long way from having a “level playing field” for people of different genders, ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds.

“Action is needed across the education system and labour market to better understand barriers to success. Renewed action is needed by government, educators and employers to dismantle them.”

The report found that while white christian boys with British sounding names from poorer backgrounds performed the worst in education, they were still more likely to secure better paid and more stable employment and face fewer barriers to social mobility in adulthood than ethnic minority children.

The report comes just a few weeks after a separate government report on integration tried to blame “cultural and religious practices” for leaving women from Muslim communities economically and socially isolated. A finding rejected by researchers and employers.


Muslim women or Muslim males of first or second generation immigration from war-torn countries are the most likely to be discriminated against with the highest rates of unemployment despite the same demographic achieving the highest academic grades.

The International sent identical CVs one with the name “John” describing his back ground as British and Christian and one with the name “Yusf” describing his background as Syrian and Muslim. The CV pairs were sent to 300 employers with 130 calling ‘John’ in to interview compared to just 1 for ‘Yusf’.

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