‘Ethnic minority women more impacted by ethnic minority pay gap’

Two PwC studies show the extent of the ethnic minority pay gap, particularly for women.

Ethnic minority


The majority of people from minority ethnic backgrounds say they are treated differently than those who are white when applying for jobs while an analysis of ethnicity pay gap data shows white British people earn more on average than people from almost every other ethnic group, with ethnic minority women more disadvantaged than men, according to two studies by PwC.

A PwC poll of 4,000 people shows six out of 10 people from ethnic minority backgrounds believe that people from other racial or ethnic backgrounds are treated differently when applying for a job than white people. Just over four out of 10 (42%) of white people taking part in the survey believed this to be the case.

Those from ethnic minority backgrounds are most likely to believe that the pandemic has exacerbated inequality. However, despite concerns that Covid has exacerbated inequality, respondents from ethnic minorities are more positive about the chances of racial and ethnic inequality being eradicated in the coming years, along with younger generations who are also far more likely to personally want to do more to address the issue.

A PwC report, The Ethnicity Pay Gap Report 2021, shows that white people are, on a like-for-like basis, paid more on average than people from 11 of the 15 ethnic minority groups, even those in the same positions and with the same qualifications. It says significant pay gaps remain at a regional level, particularly among people working in London where ethnic minority groups earn on average £14.76 an hour –  more than 20% less than their white counterparts who make £18.47. The figure is also only slightly above the overall national average despite higher living costs.  Mixed race people are paid on average 16% less than the White British population. There are no UK regions where people from an ethnic minority background who were not born in the UK earn more than their white counterparts.

The report also demonstrates how pay differences based on ethnicity interact with the gender pay gap, with white and Black Caribbean mixed race women on average earning 70p for every £1 earned by a white British man. In white and Black African mixed race, Bangladeshi and other mixed ethnicity groups, women out-earn men by a small amount, although women in all of these groups still earn less than the average white British man.

The key drivers for this disparity include higher numbers of ethnic minority women employed in insecure jobs, the report says, as well as lower employment rates among ethnic minority women and over-representation in jobs below their qualification level. There are also reports of women from ethnic minorities facing higher levels of discrimination in the workplace.

Karen Finlayson, PwC Partner and Regional Lead for Government, said: “Events of the past two years have shone a light on the numerous inequalities that exist in our society and kick-started the conversations that need to happen for them to be properly addressed. These two studies highlight the divides not only in the perception but the reality of ethnic and racial inequality in the UK. The pay gap research underlines the extent to which workers from ethnic minorities across the UK are still earning less than their white counterparts even when they have the same qualifications and are working in the same jobs.

“This difference between perception and reality illustrates that despite considerable progress on social attitudes, as well as the endeavours of policymakers, businesses and individuals, there is still a long way to go to knock down the structural barriers and behaviours and attitudes towards racial equality that exist in the British workplace and in society. At the same time, there is clearly hope for the future, and it’s heartening to see that young people, in particular, appear to be not only the most determined to tackle inequality but are the most positive about our prospects of seeing it eradicated in the future.”

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