UK’s ethnicity pay gap revealed for first time

Employees from ethnic minority groups earned on average 3.8% less than their white British counterparts in 2018, new figures show.

The pay gap was biggest for workers in the Bangladeshi ethnic group at 20.2% less than white British employees and Pakistani at 16.9%.

By contrast, employees in the Chinese ethnic group earned 30.9% more than those in the white British group.

The figures are included in the first analysis of Britain’s ethnicity pay gap, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The gap is defined as the difference between the gross median hourly pay of white British employees and other ethnic groups.

A positive pay gap is when average earnings for ethnic groups are below the equivalent figure for their white British counterparts.

The ONS report shows the overall ethnicity pay gap in Great Britain decreased from 4.2% in 2017 to 3.8% in 2018.

But in some categories the gap widened year-on-year, including Pakistani (up from 16.6% to 16.9%) and African, Caribbean and Black British (from 5.5% to 9.2%).

Three categories had average hourly earnings above those of their white British counterparts: Chinese (30.9% higher), Indian (12.0%) and mixed/multiple ethnic groups (2.5%).

London has the largest ethnicity pay gap, with minority groups earning on average 21.7% less than white employees.

Two regions – north-east England and Eastern England – recorded negative pay gaps, where the average earnings for ethnic groups were higher than those for white employees (6.5% and 3.9% respectively).

Senior ONS analyst Hugh Stickland said: “Overall, employees from certain ethnic groups, such as Indian and Chinese, have higher average earnings than their white British counterparts.

“However, all other ethnic groups have average wages lower than for white British employees, with employees from the Bangladeshi ethnic group having the largest pay gap.

“However, once characteristics such as education and occupation are taken into account, the pay gap between white British and most other ethnic groups becomes narrower, though significant differences still remain.”

Average gross hourly earnings for white British employees in 2018 were £12.03 – below the equivalent figure for Chinese (£15.75), Indian (£13.47) and mixed/multiple ethnic groups (£12.33).

All other categories ranked below the figure for white British employees, including African, Caribbean and Black British (£10.92), Pakistani (£10.00) and Bangladeshi (£9.60).

The ONS also said the pay gap between white British and other ethnic groups tends to be smaller for younger employees than for older employees.